Will There be Charges in Dog Shooting?
On March 28th, an unnamed man from Goodland Township drove his 2-year-old dog, Gemma, out to a secluded area in the woods, and shot her in the head with a crossbow. While trying to locate something to wrap her body in for burial, she ran away. Luckily for Gemma, the arrow had missed it’s mark, but not entirely…
For two days the dog roamed around Lapeer county with a crossbow bolt in her skull. It had entered her skull from the top, narrowly missing the optical nerve of her right eye, and come out through the roof of her mouth. She was discovered by a construction worker, who contacted Lapeer County Animal Control.
Deputies from the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Department began an immediate investigation, and it wasn’t long before they discovered who Gemma’s owner was. When confronted, he admitted shooting his dog, claiming that it was because she had been aggressive with another dog of his. However, a search of his property revealed no other dog.
In Michigan, the law does allow pet owners to euthanize their own pets, however, the law also prohibits cruelty to animals. This case falls into rather a gray area as a result, because while the owner’s actions caused severe pain and suffering, he claims his intention was to quickly and painlessly euthanize the dog.
State laws that pertain to animal cruelty fall into three categories: intentional infliction of pain and suffering, duty to provide care, and anti-animal fighting. Of these three, only the first one probably applies in this case, should the owner be prosecuted. But it is a felony, and carries the most severe penalties of the three.
Under statute 750.50b, anyone guilty of committing this crime is guilty of a felony punishable by up to four years in prison for knowingly killing, torturing, mutilating, maiming, or poisoning any animal “without just cause.”
Aimee Orn, director of Lapeer County Animal Control says that the results of the investigation have been submitted to the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office for review. It remains to be seen whether or not the prosecutor believes that the law was broken in this instance, and if so, what charges they will deem appropriate.
According to Orn, the crossbow bolt was removed from Gemma’s skull without any lasting damage being done, and she is currently recovering nicely. Lapeer County Animal Control has offered the owner an opportunity to voluntarily give up his rights to Gemma so that she can be adopted into another family.