Tyler M. McKeon, a hunter in the Bay City area, is accused of shooting a neighbor’s dog. He was scheduled to appear before Judge Joseph K. Sheeran for his trial a few days ago, however he chose instead to skip the trial and accept a plea bargain. McKeon has entered a no contest plea to a single count of Attempted Killing or Torturing an Animal.
Under Michigan law, this means that McKeon has not admitted guilt to the charge, but has stated for the record that he will not contest the charge against him. In Michigan, Attempted Killing or Torturing an Animal is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. In return for the plea, the prosecutor’s office agreed to drop a single count of Killing or Torturing an Animal, which is punishable by up to four years in prison, fines of up to $5,000, and as many as 500 hours of community service.
According to court records, McKeon is accused of is shooting Tippy, a neighbor’s young Labrador/Pit Bull mix that he claimed was bothering him while he was hunting on his father’s land. Jeffrey Pickvet, Tippy’s owner, says that he was working in his barn when he heard several gunshots and a dog yelp. He suspected that someone had shot one of his dogs and he went back to the house to tell his wife. Denise Pickvet says that after her husband told her about his suspicions, she got into her truck and drove in the direction of the suspected gunshots.
Denise says she encountered McKeon walking along the side of the road and asked him if he had shot a dog. He said no, that all he had shot at were deer. But Denise claims she suspected that he was lying, as he wouldn’t make eye-contact with her. She tried to block his departure with her truck, but claims that he drove around her and “flipped her off.” She says she followed him and he eventually pulled over, where she confronted him again about shooting a dog, and again he denied it.
Denise told the court that she copies down his license plate number while her husband called 911. A Michigan State Police Trooper responded to the scene, and accompanied Jeffrey Pickvet in the direction that he suspected the gunshots had originated. About 800 feet from the barn, near a hunting blind, they found Tippy’s body.
According to the testimony provided by the Trooper on scene, Tippy’s body was found in some weeds.
“It had obvious injuries, large tears in its abdomen and holes in its appendages that appeared to be gunshot wounds. It appeared the dog had been wounded approximately 10 feet or so from where it actually (died), based on blood it was leaving on foliage before it collapsed and died.”
The MSP Trooper contacted McKeon by phone, and asked him about the situation. McKeon allegedly admitted that he had shot the dog, first with a muzzleloader, and then with a handgun. He turned both guns over to the police as part of the investigation.
An interesting fact to note is that, under Michigan law an animal is defined as “any vertebrate other than a human being.” This means that dogs, cats, cattle, horses, sheep and goats, rodents, snakes, and even birds are considered to be vertebrates. By definition, a vertebrate is any creature with a vertebrae, also called a backbone. There are currently about 64,000 species on earth classified as vertebrates.
Crimes that involve weaponry can be complicated. In addition to the possible penalties for the crime itself, there is always the potential that your right to gun ownership could be jeopardized. Having your Michigan gun rights restored is also a complex undertaking, and requires the help of a highly skilled attorney.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a firearm-related crime, or are trying to find out about having your gun rights restored, contact The Kronzek Firm today. Our experienced attorneys have decades of experience helping Michigan residents to fight weapons charges, and to get back your constitutional freedoms. Call 866 766 5245 at any time. An attorney is standing by to answer your questions.