Felony Charge In Brutal Dog Toy Attack

Cops: Man, 31, walloped victim with ball launcher

MARCH 14–A Florida dog owner is facing a felony battery charge after allegedly clobbering another man in the face with a “tennis ball launcher dog toy,” according to an arrest report.

Thomas Phillips, 31, was at the dog run outside his Gainesville apartment complex Monday evening when his pooch, unburdened by a leash, attacked a canine owned by Matthew Hester, cops report.

Hester “explained that his leashed dog was being repeatedly bitten/attacked” by Phillips’s dog. As Hester, 33, tried to separate the animals, his dog slipped out of its collar and leash (which Hester then swung at the attacking dog “to get it to let go”).

At this point, investigators allege, Phillips came running over. But instead of trying to stop the dog scrum, Phillips struck Hester “in the face with a large green tennis ball launcher dog toy.” The hard plastic launcher is about three feet long, cops noted.

When police arrived at the dog run, Hester had swelling, redness, and an abrasion that were “consistent with being struck in the face with the tennis ball launcher.”

Phillips, who denied walloping Hester with the launcher, was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was booked into the Alachua County jail on the felony charge. Phillips was released from custody today on his own recognizance and ordered to have no contact with Hester. 

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