BELLEFONTE — A Union Township man was acquitted Wednesday of two counts of cruelty to animals for shooting and killing his neighbors puppy last April.
Frederick Moore testified during his non-jury trial that he shot the dog, thinking it was a stray that wandered onto his property that might scare his two horses. He said the horses could have been injured and might need to be put down if they got hurt badly enough.
His attorney, Tim Fleming, wanted to show that Moore was trying to protect his animals.
Judge Jonathan Grine said Moore wasnt malicious in shooting the dog, a factor that would have to be shown for him to be convict on the cruelty charge.
Moore was convicted of a summary criminal mischief count and ordered to pay a $300 fine and $150 in restitution to the dogs owner.
Prosecutor Yvette Willson said she thought Moore committed a crime because he willfully shot the dog before it was actually attacking the horses. She also argued that the small dog couldnt hurt the horses.
The dogs owner, Lori Cowher, testified she put Wolf, a 10- pound, 7-month-old Chinese Crested terrier puff, outside, then attached its leash and went back inside to do laundry. A few minutes later, she checked on the dog only to find it was gone.
I heard a gunshot. I heard a yip, she said. I knew it was Wolf.
Moore testified the dog went into his horses paddock and then came toward him, showing its teeth. The dog headed back to the paddock area, he said, and thats when he got the dogs attention.
The dog turned to look at me, and I shot it, he said. I didnt want that dog going back in that paddock.
Moore testified he had trouble with animals attacking his dogs and horses in the past, but Cowher denied it was her dogs that were responsible for them.
A state police trooper also testified that Moore buried the dog in a pile of manure, but Moore denied that.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT