VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL – A DeBary man is in custody after shooting a family dog while children were only one room away in a domestic disturbance incident late Thursday night. According to authorities, Steven Parsons, 34, of Lake Drive in DeBary, was immediately taken into custody without incident around 9:30 p.m. Deputies learned the disturbance stemmed from Parsons’ girlfriend hiding his guns from him because he was intoxicated and made a comment about using them on himself. She said Parsons became aggressive after she hid the guns, and she left the house to get away from him.
Deputies entered the house to check on the safety of two children inside, an 8-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. They were upset but uninjured. Deputies immediately noticed blood throughout the house, and moments later they were greeted by a pit bull mix, who came around a corner bleeding heavily with an apparent gunshot wound between the eyes. The dog was friendly toward deputies, walking around and wagging its tail, seemingly stable and alert despite the injury.
Parsons said he shot the dog because it bit him. Parsons’ girlfriend told deputies the dog is protective of her and bit Parsons on the hand because he was yelling. Deputies found a spent round inside the bathroom where the shooting occurred, and determined that only thin drywall separated the bathroom from the bedroom where the children were at the time.
The girlfriend took the dog to an emergency animal clinic in Daytona Beach for treatment. Deputies completed a temporary risk protection order for the seizure of Parsons’ weapons and transported Parsons to AdventHealth Fish Memorial Hospital in Orange City, where he was medically cleared and then transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail. He was being held without bond Friday morning on charges of animal cruelty, child abuse and shooting into a dwelling.
The dog, Chappo, was kept overnight for observation but is allowed to come home today and is expected to be fine. The veterinarian found an entry wound near his nose and an exit wound near his mouth/cheek.