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Bucky was a lively, spirited three-year-old black pug. Our client Eric had gotten him as a companion for his 12-year-old Puggle Sandy, who was undergoing cancer treatments last year. Bucky gave Sandy something to live for.
On Sunday, February 27, a senseless act of violence took him from the world too soon. Eric’s ex-girlfriend Shelley Nicole Vaughn came over to his condo on Clearwater Beach, starting an argument with him. Eric said that she was under the influence of alcohol and drugs when she came over at 11:00 am. As the argument escalated, she proceeded to throw his phone and keys off the balcony. Eric begged her to leave, but she proceeded to escalate the situation.
Next, she grabbed Bucky. Vaughn took the pup to the balcony, smiled at Eric, and threw him over. Bucky plunged seven stories to the asphalt parking lot below. He did not survive the fall.
Eric ran down to him and held him in his arms, hoping he would get up.
This traumatizing event has forever changed Eric’s life. “There is no justice. I mean, nothing’s going to bring Bucky back,” he told reporters from Fox 13 News on Monday evening.
He “never [thought] in a million years that Sandy would survive cancer and still be alive at 13 and actually outlive Bucky. That’s the tragedy of it,” said Eric.
Carey Leisure & Neal has filed a civil lawsuit against Ms. Vaughn for Intentional Infliction of emotional distress. As Attorney Katherine Neal stated, “We felt it necessary to do something big and loud to scream to the community that these kinds of acts are unacceptable. We are not going to allow that kind of behavior in our community.”
Monday, March 7, 2022, Shelley Nicole Vaughn was set to appear in front of the Judge in her case for a hearing at 8:30 am regarding turning in her gun to the authorities. Part of her bail requirements was to surrender all weapons in her possession, and she failed to turn them in by the deadline set by the Judge on Friday 3/4 at 4 pm. Ms. Vaughn arrived 40 minutes late to her hearing and requested the opportunity to provide testimony regarding the gun. As she arrived late, the judge set a second hearing at 11:30 am to allow her to provide testimony.
The 11:30 am hearing went on for quite some time. At the end of the hearing, the Judge stated he did not find Ms. Vaughn credible and found that she had willfully chosen not to comply with the pretrial release condition of surrendering her weapons. They have taken Shelley Nicole Vaughn back into custody. Another hearing has been set for Wednesday 3/9 to see if she will comply with the condition of surrendering her weapon at that time.
The Tampa Bay community has rallied around our client Eric in a beautiful way. The outpouring of love and support he has received from so many is tremendous, and he is extremely grateful. To date, the Bucks for Bucky memorial fund has raised over $3,000 to directly benefit the Humane Society of Pinellas! As Pinellas County’s largest no-kill shelter, this wonderful organization does not receive any State or Federal tax dollars to fund its operation. Nor do they receive funding from nationwide animal organizations including the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA. Every dollar raised from Bucks for Bucky will change the lives of the animals that the Humane Society of Pinellas is helping. Thank you all for your tremendous support! If you would like to donate in honor of Bucky, please visit Bucks for Bucky!