The man who was seen in a video beating a dog in the back of a car at a south Fort Myers RaceTrac has been charged with animal cruelty.
Marcus Chiddister, 22, has been identified as the man in the video. He was arrested on Tuesday and is accused of beating his dog, a 2-year-old pit bull named Sheeba.
“He’s 22 years old and this is now 45 arrests okay 45 arrests in 22 years you know what there’s no place for him. He should leave the county while he can. He’s a loser,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
The video was taken at the RaceTrac at 4551 South Cleveland Avenue on March 29.
“We pieced it together,” Marceno said. “It was at a RaceTrac, a local RaceTrac. We were able to go begin interviewing, witnesses surveillance.”
While deputies were speaking with potential witnesses at the RaceTrac where the alleged beating took place, Chiddister and his girlfriend drove up in the same car seen in the video.
Deputies took Chiddister and his girlfriend into custody while they searched the car. They say they found evidence that a dog had been in the car.
Investigators learned from Chiddister’s girlfriend that the two had a dog named Sheeba. Deputies showed her the video, and she identified the car as hers and identified Chiddister as the person that appeared to be beating the dog in the video.
She told deputies that Sheeba had eaten some of their food which made Chiddister upset. She said that is when he went into the backseat and hit the dog several times. Chiddister’s girlfriend said that he had hit the dog several times in the past.
Investigators went to the couple’s home to retrieve the dog so it could be examined. Lee County Domestic Animal Services determined that the dog had sustained “non-accidental” injuries and took possession of Sheeba.
MORE: Lee County sheriff files civil lawsuit against man seen beating dog in car at RaceTrac
Investigators say Chiddister claimed he was hitting cockroaches in the back of the. They say he also claimed that he was hitting luggage because he was upset. Chiddister told deputies that he hit the dog in the past with an open hand because he was told to by the dog’s trainer. He claimed that he would never abuse the dog and only ever hit Sheeba as a punishment.
Chiddister is being held with no bond until Thursday for a probation violation. He was on probation for felony delivery with a gun and ammo. His bond for the felony animal cruelty charge has been set at $25,000. He has been ordered to surrender all animals and pets and is not permitted to be around any animals.
“The US Marshalls regional fugitive task force quickly located this coward and now he’s sitting in the Marceno motel in a jumpsuit that matches his hair,” said Marceno.
Chiddister’s arrest came after the sheriff filed an emergency petition in civil court to grant him custody of Sheeba.
“Our legal department will now work with the courts and go through a civil process to make certain that we get that dog, we take that dog from the owners so we can never get abuse from that owner again. And more so, I don’t want him owning a dog ever again,” said Marceno.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference to provide an update on this case. You can watch in the player below or by clicking here.