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Man Arrested for Using Toy Gun as Weapon Against Fellow Dog Owner

Authorities reported that they responded to an incident on Monday involving a plastic toy gun employed as a makeshift weapon in an alleged attack after a Florida dog owner used it against a man whose canine was bitten by his dog.

Near 8 p.m. on March 12 31-year-old Thomas Phillips from Gainesville was strolling with his unleashed dog in an area of the Lake Crossing Apartments complex designated as a dog run. 33-year-old Matthew Hester was out for a walk with his dog in the same area, but his dog was contained on a leash.

Phillips’ unrestrained pet allegedly ran from his side advancing on Hester’s dog, biting and attacking him. When Hester reportedly attempted to break up the dogs his pup found a way to wriggle free from the collar and leash it was wearing. He then began using the apparatus as a belt to swing at the attacking dog.

Phillips, who allegedly had a plastic toy gun intended for shooting tennis balls great distances in order for dogs to chase them in his possession, ran up to the scuffle. He purportedly began using the 3-foot-long plastic toy against Hester by hitting him in the face with it, according to the victim’s statement.

Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies reached the scene and discovered that Hester had a scrape, redness, and swelling on his face and they determined it was consistent with being hit with a plastic tennis ball launcher.

Phillips was taken into custody and booked into the Alachua County Jail on suspicion of aggravated battery, which is a second-degree felony in Florida. Phillips denied whacking Hester with the ball launcher and he was released on Thursday on his own recognizance and given an order that he is to have no contact with Hester.

If you or someone you love is suspected of battery, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.

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