A man was arrested after allegedly harassing a Jehovah’s Witness on a Florida beach and allowing his dog, named Butterbean, to gnaw on some of the religious literature the victim was peddling.
According to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, an officer was called to Sombrero Beach on Feb. 9, after a man and his dog approached a Jehovah’s Witness, who was standing at a pavilion with a cart full of religious literature.
The Jehovah’s Witness claimed Edgar Wallis Jones approached him and said he was not allowed on city or state property with his religious literature. The victim told Jones he was not soliciting anyone as his literature is free and that he has a permit, police said. The Jehovah’s Witness told police Jones said since the literature was free, he would take all of it and grabbed the man’s cart while Butterbean began to chomp on some of the religious material before leaving the area.
“The victim did not report being injured in the incident,” police spokesperson Adam Linhardt said in a statement. “He gave Deputy Ian Douthirt a description of the suspect as well as the dog. The victim added that he had seen the suspect before around town and it was his belief that the suspect is a local.”
The police spokesperson said witnesses corroborated the victim’s version of events.
The police officer canvassed the beach and spoke to several people who described seeing the man with his dog.
“They didn’t know the man’s name, but the dog was described as an older, chubby, tan and white French bulldog,” Linhardt said. “One witness stated the man said the dog’s name is Butterbean, but he did not choose it, that children chose the dog’s name instead. And so Deputy Douthirt began his search for Butterbean.”
In an effort to identify Butterbean’s owner, the police officer made contact with several animal clinics and shelters, asking if they had a file for a French bulldog dubbed Butterbean. No dice on locating the owner.
Deputy Douthirt returned to the beach a few days after the alleged incident when he spotted a man with a tan and white French bulldog on a leash.
“Deputy Douthirt asked the man what his dog’s name was and the man replied, ‘Butterbean,’” the police spokesperson said. “The man then stated he did not name the dog. The man stated children chose the name.”
According to police, the man went on to admit he confronted the Jehovah’s Witness about the peddling of literature and Butterbean chewed on some of the pamphlets, but denied taking the victim’s cart.
Jones was charged with disorderly conduct.