A dog and the staff at a quick-thinking Florida veterinarian's office helped a woman escape her allegedly abusive partner this weekend. According to local law enforcement, the woman had convinced her boyfriend that their dog needed to be seen by a veterinarian a few days after he'd allegedly beaten her and threatened her at gunpoint. Once at the vet's office, the woman slipped a note to the staff pleading for help. A veterinarian employee quietly called police, who rescued the woman.
According to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the woman had allegedly been severely beaten Wednesday by her live-in boyfriend who then threatened her at gunpoint in an attempt to prevent her from leaving or seeking help. On Friday, the visibly-injured woman managed to convince her boyfriend to allow her to leave the house by saying their dog desperately needed to be seen by a veterinarian. The boyfriend agreed to accompany the woman to the DeLand Animal Hospital in DeLand, Florida. According to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the boyfriend threatened the woman at gunpoint again during the drive to the animal hospital, saying he would kill her and her family.
Police have reported the woman slipped a note to an employee at the DeLand Animal Hospital that read: "Call the cops. My boyfriend is threatening me. He has a gun. Please don't let him know."
DeLand Police were the first to respond and detained the woman's boyfriend after finding he was a convicted felon and had a loaded gun in the waistband of his pants, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. Deputies from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office were then called in because of where the alleged battery took place.
According to a police report obtained by The Washington Post, the woman told law enforcement officers her boyfriend had become violent Wednesday night after accusing her of wanting to be with other men. She claimed he dragged her by the hair and then beat her after she tried to escape through a window. The report also states she told police that her boyfriend had taken out a gun and threatened her with it. She told police the gun went off when she tried to grab it from him.
According to the same report, the boyfriend told police he'd "carried" the woman back into their house when she collapsed after jumping out a window, and admitted to having "tussled" with her — but denied having beaten her. He also claimed she'd been the one to pick up the gun first, and that she'd threatened to kill herself. He told police the gun had gone off when he'd wrestled it away from her, but denied having used it to threaten her. He said he'd unloaded the weapon and fallen asleep. According to The Washington Post, the boyfriend told police he did not know why his girlfriend would lie about the dog being sick and pass a secret note to staff for help.
The woman had one black eye, as well as cuts and bruises on her arms, legs, and fingers, according to The Washington Post. Police said the woman was treated for a head injury, a black eye, and bruises at Florida Hospital DeLand. Her boyfriend was arrested on charges of domestic violence, aggravated assault with a firearm, false imprisonment, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and simple battery.
"Thank God for the courage of this woman, the quick action of staff at DeLand Animal Hospital and the work of our deputies and DeLand PD!" Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood tweeted Saturday.