Lee County sheriff files civil lawsuit against man seen beating dog in car at RaceTrac

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Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno has filed a lawsuit against a man seen beating a dog inside of a vehicle at a gas station.

The emergency petition is asking a judge to determine whether the man in the video and his partner are fit to “provide adequately” for the dog on video.

WINK News is not naming the couple because criminal charges have not been filed.

The incident happened at a gas station at 4551 South Cleveland Avenue on March 29.

The dog, a 2-year-old pit bull named Sheeba, was examined and found she suffered bruising and contusions associated with blunt force trauma with a fist or hand, according to the petition. Animal services described these wounds as “non-accidental.”

Video of the incident was posted on social media and it quickly went viral. It was sent to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on April 1, according to the emergency petition.

“We pieced it together,” Marceno said. “It was at a RaceTrac, a local RaceTrac. We were able to go in begin interviewing, witnesses surveillance.”

A gas station employee told authorities they recognized the man as a “regular customer,” who was staying at a Travelodge across the street. As detectives continued their investigation, a car matching the one depicted in the video pulled into the same RaceTrac.

The couple returned to the gas station as investigators were there questioning witnesses.

The man offered many explanations, including one where he said he was slapping at roaches in the car.

The driver of the vehicle confirmed that it is her car and that the dog is hers. She also was able to identify the man in the video.

His girlfriend told a detective the man said he hit Sheeba because the dog ate their food. She also said it wasn’t the first time he disciplined the dog in that way.

The man said he would never abuse the dog but that hitting her was a form of punishment, according to the petition.

Sheeba was seized on April 6, according to the petition. Lee County Domestic Animal Services now has the dog.

WINK News asked the Lee County Sheriff’s Office how Sheeba is doing but they declined to comment because of the active investigation.

Now, the sheriff’s office is saying that it will speak about the lawsuit on Wednesday at 1 p.m. during a press conference.

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