LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A judge has granted the Lee County Sheriff's office emergency custody of a dog being seen allegedly abused in a viral video.
That video appears to show 22-year-old Marcus Chiddister beating and punching a dog.
Thursday morning, Chiddister made an appearance in court, after LCSO filed a civil petition for custody of that dog, named Sheba.
Shortly after the hearing began, Chiddister claimed he was developing a panic attack and was led out of the courtroom. When court resumed after 9 a.m., Chiddister was placed in a remote area and rejoined the hearing via Zoom.
Chiddister confirmed he was the man in the video and that the dog in the video was Sheba. He claims a trainer instructed him to hit the dog to teach discipline, but also stated he was punching roaches on a suitcase and "may have hit" Sheba while doing so.
Detectives testified there were no roaches or a suitcase in the vehicle when they inspected it.
After this testimony, loud noises could be heard from the containment area Chiddister was in and the Zoom feed was abruptly turned off. A deputy later told the court the suspect had to be taken away and would no longer be available for the hearing.
The judge resumed the hearing by examining evidence submitted by Chiddister's girlfriend.
LCSO tweeted they rested their portion of the case around 10:30 a.m.
Minutes later, the judge ruled in favor of the sheriff, and custody of the dog was granted to the department. According to the judgment, Chiddister will not be allowed to own any other animals.
Florida’s #lawandordersheriff Carmine Marceno is in a Lee County courtroom this morning briefing our legal team in the Marcus Chiddister animal abuse case.— Carmine Marceno - Florida’s Law and Order Sheriff (@SheriffLeeFL) May 12, 2022
Today, we #fightforSheba to never see abuse again. pic.twitter.com/PAldLhldyG
Back on April 6, LCSO detectives investigated a viral video and found the location of the RaceTrac where the video took place.
The detectives asked the employees if they recognized the man in the video, and that eventually led to the arrest.
The sheriff said he wants to make sure this dog finds a good home.
"Now we civilly fight with the courts and we go after, so this person can never have an animal again and we take that dog from him," said Sheriff Marceno.