The man who shot a neighbor's dog on New Year's Eve won't be arrested, Sheriff Gary Maha said today.
Maha released the information report on the incident and in a statement the neighbor said he had started carrying his .357 Magnum that day because the dog had become increasingly aggressive toward him.
Another neighbor, a 78-year-old man, who said he saw the incident, told Deputy Bradley Mazur that he saw the dog charge across the shooter's yard and heard the dog growling and believed the dog intended to attack the man. He then heard two gun shots, but didn't see the dog get hit.
While Maha made no statement about why there will be no arrest, he shared a copy of Agriculture and Markets law, which says there is no liability when a person has a reasonable belief that he or she is being attacked by a dog and then kills that dog.
The dog's name was Pepper and she was owned by Greg Gass, a resident of Dodgeson Road, Alexander.
The Batavian first broke the news of the incident after the Gass family created a Facebook page called Justice for Pepper.
The Gass family does not believe Pepper was an aggressive dog.
"She was the sweetest little thing," Jen Gass said. "She played with a little 5-year-old who pulled her ears and would play roughly, and Pepper never did anything about it. She played with other dogs and never had a problem. I know she's a big dog. She looks like a big dog and people can be intimidated, I guess, but she didn't have a mean bone in her body."
In his statement to police, the man who shot Pepper said the dog had been coming onto his property more frequently.
He said the day before the incident, Pepper, a bullmastiff, had been in his yard and acted aggressively toward him and his two grandchildren, ages 7 and 8.
Once the dog saw me, it became aggressive towards me by barking and growling at me and snapped at me," the man wrote. "I was yelling and pointing at the dog to go home and I was concerned for my safety as well as my grandchildren. I then heard my neighbor, Greg, who is the dog owner, calling the dog's name. The dog did not leave right away when Greg was calling it to come home. I only yelled at the dog and I did not kick the dog or make any other physical contact. The dog ran towards the front yard and Greg was in the back yard. The dog never actually went to him. This was not the first time Greg's dog had been on my property. The dog was more aggressive with each time it was over here."
That incident convinced the man to start carrying his gun, he said.
He said he went out to his shed at about 12:34 p.m., New Year's Day, and the dog started to run directly at him and was barking and growling.
"I pulled out my gun and I yelled at the dog, 'go home, go on,' and the dog never stopped running at me," he said. "I was in fear for my own safety and took two steps backwards. The dog was about three feet from me and lunging at me and I shot the dog. I shot two rounds at the dog and I believed that the first round was in the upper chest just under the dog's neck. The second round was in the front of the dog's head."
Greg, he said, yelled over, "Did you just shoot my dog?" The man said he did.
Greg came over and asked the man, "When did you start carrying?" The man told him, "since yesterday when your dog did the same thing."
Mazur reviewed a surveillance video of the incident and wrote in his report that he consulted with Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini and provided his interpretation of what the video showed and shared what he had been told by the shooter and the witness. Mazur said Cianfrini advised him there was no crime committed and that the neighbor had a right to protect himself.