Florida Man Hurls Caged Chihuahua at Cousin During Argument, Police Say

A Florida man was arrested last week after being accused of hurling a caged chihuahua at his cousin during an argument at their shared home, police say.

Stephone Johnson, 27, was detained by officers from the St. Petersburg Police Department and booked into jail shortly after 10 p.m. last Tuesday after being charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, according to records published by the Pinellas County Clerk of Court.

"The defendant threw a dog cage and the dog which was inside at the victim," according to an arrest report, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

The attack took place at roughly 7:30 p.m. inside an address on 18th Avenue South after Johnson and his female cousin "engaged in a verbal confrontation."

Police said Johnson picked up a black metal cage and threw it after making a "threatening statement to harm the victim and other individuals inside the residence," who have not been named. The cage was holding a one-year-old chihuahua named Roscoe.

The cage allegedly hit the victim on her upper left arm, causing a minor bruise. Investigators said the attack was witnessed by other people who were inside the residence at the time, but did not elaborate on what had initially sparked the confrontation between the family members.

It remains unclear if the chihuahua was injured in the incident.

Johnson admitted to tossing the cage while being questioned by police. The 27-year-old suspect, described as being unemployed, was detained at shortly after 8 p.m., the arrest report said. He was released on his own recognizance Wednesday after being taken to the county jail.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a judge ruled that he could be released without bail under the condition he does not return to the home address and does not own guns or ammo.

According to the clerk's filing, Johnson was given a "no contact" order forbidding direct or indirect contact with his cousin and is not allowed to leave Pinellas County.

Johnson has more than a dozen prior convictions in the state, including for trespassing, theft and battery. The Smoking Gun, a website that publishes court documents, reported the previous battery charge was filed after the man was accused of pushing his mother during an argument.

Domestic battery is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, one year of probation, and a $1,000 fine, says the website of criminal defense lawyer Richard Hornsby.

"Domestic violence battery is any unlawful touching of a person classified by statute as a family or household member," a separate Florida law firm, Hussein & Webber, explains in an online fact sheet detailing the charge. "The offense is harshly prosecuted throughout the state of Florida, with penalties and long-term consequences far exceeding that of a conventional battery."

File photo: Puppy white brown chihuahua in dog cage. A Florida man was arrested last week after being accused of hurling a caged chihuahua (not pictured) at his cousin during an argument. iStock