ST. PETERSBURG - An ex-convict was arrested Wednesday night on charges he shot and wounded a pit bull in his neighborhood after calling the animal to him. Shawn Michael Guizzotti, 23, of 5235 Fourth Ave. S., was charged with one count of animal cruelty. Bail was set at $10,000. At about 8 p.m., a man who was driving north on 53rd Street spotted Guizzotti calling two pit bulls to him, police said. The man thought Guizzotti owned the animals. After the man drove by, he saw a bright muzzle flash in his rearview mirror and thought Guizzotti had put a firecracker in the mouth of one of the animals, police said. Guizzotti took off.
The motorist turned around, found a .380-shell casing near where Guizzotti was standing, and called police. The wounded dog ran home to its owner, Dawn Smith, at 5347 3rd Ave. S. Papi, the female white pit bull suffered a through-and-through wound in her shoulder, and survived, Smith said. Given a description of the shooter, Smith’s husband thought of a man who lived a block away, and Guizzotti was identified by the motorist and arrested. He denied shooting the animal. Smith believes Guizzotti called to her dogs, prompting them to jump over a fence before running toward him. The other dog, a red pit bull named Bam Bam, was not injured. Guizzotti was released from prison in June after serving a sentence of just under two years for felony battery and dealing in marijuana, according to the Department of Corrections.