Shawn Robert Higgins (Photo courtesy of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.)

Man charged with choking girlfriend, fracturing her puppy's leg

Shawn Robert Higgins threw the puppy against the ground, then choked the woman when when she tried to comfort it, according to Sheriff's Office reports.
By: 
Oct. 6, 2015

A 48-year-old Palm Coast man fractured his girlfriend’s puppy’s leg by deliberately throwing the pup against the ground, then choked his girlfriend, restricting her breathing and leaving marks on her neck, according to Sheriff’s Office records.

The man, Shawn Robert Higgins, is charged with cruelty to animals, domestic battery by strangulation, and criminal mischief.

The woman, a Pebble Stone Lane resident, had filed an injunction for protection against Higgins — her live-in boyfriend of about a year — when he came to her home on Pebble Stone Lane Oct. 3, but the injunction hadn’t yet been served, according to a Sheriff's Office arrest report.

She reminded him about the injunction and told him to leave. But when he asked her to go out to dinner at Carrabas with her, she went. They left the restaurant separately, and she thought the encounter was over. 

But then he showed up at the house, entering through the open garage door, and the woman’s nine-month-old, 16-pound pup came over to him. Higgins grabbed the dog and picked it up, and the woman “began begging (Higgins) to put the dog down because she ‘knew the look in his eyes,’” a deputy wrote in the arrest report.

“At some point during this, he said 'OK,' and forcefully threw the dog down in front of him causing the dog to ‘scream,'" then he “told her that this was her fault for not teaching the dog manners and to not run up to him,” according to the report.

When the woman tried to console the dog, Higgins “pushed and held her down on top of the dog,” according to the report, choking her while she kicked and punched at him to free herself. He “told her that she will never get him off of her and to face it that she’ll never get rid of him,” according to the report, then let go and got in his car. The woman followed, and he confronted her and threw her to the ground, then grabbed her cell phone and threw that on the ground as well, cracking the screen.

The woman grabbed a ladder and struck his car with it. Higgins then chased the woman to the house, banging on the door as she shouted that she was calling the police. He tried to use a key in the front door, and she held the latch for the inside while calling the Sheriff’s Office with the damaged cell phone. Higgins finally left. 

A deputy who arrived at the home noted the red marks on the woman’s neck. Higgins called the woman several times while deputies were at the house — telling them that the dog had “jumped out of his arms,” and that he hadn’t thrown it down — but refused to come to speak with deputies.

A veterinarian from Flagler Animal Hospital examined the dog and found a distal femur fracture on its hind leg, and told a deputy “that with the dog weighing 16.4 pounds it would be unlikely that the dog sustained this injury from simply jumping out of someone’s arms,” according to the report. Higgins, who’d refused to meet with law enforcement officers, then showed up at the clinic trying to see the woman and the dog. Deputies arrested him.

Higgins remained at the Flagler County jail as of the afternoon on Oct. 6. Bond was set at combined $4,500.