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Tuesday, May 8, 2012County: Spartanburg
» Dana Marie Gardner
» James Forrest Wallace
The owner of an American bulldog says the dog was shot because it had been hit by a car, but investigators said there is no evidence of the dog having been hit.
Environmental Enforcement officers and deputies were called to 1130 Fairview Church Road at about 9 a.m. Tuesday about a dog that had been shot. Officers said they found an American bulldog that had been shot at least twice and was critically injured.
Environmental Enforcement Officer Jamie Nelson said, Nelson said, "The animal was in a suffering condition when we got there."
The dog was euthanized.
Officers interviewed a witness said someone in the passenger seat of a white pickup truck leaned out of window, shot the dog while the truck continued to travel down the roadway. The witness said a few minutes later, the vehicle returned and another shot was fired at the dog before the vehicle drove away.
Environmental Enforcement officers and deputies canvassed the area and located the dog's owner, Dana Marie Gardner. The incident report that officers told Gardner that her dog had been shot and asked if she knew someone who owned a white pickup.
She told investigators that her next door neighbor had one, but officers found no one at home at the time.
Environmental Enforcement officers said that later in the afternoon, Gardner called them and admitted she was in the truck when the dog was shot. Officers went to Gardner's home, and said that's when she told them that James Forrest Wallace was the one who shot the dog.
The officers called Wallace, who met them at Gardner's home. They said when he was questioned Wallace admitted he shot the dog.
Nelson said Gardner told investigators that she hadn't seen the dog in hours, so she called Wallace and they went driving up and down the road looking for it. She said they saw the dog in a parking lot and it appeared to have been hit by a car, so they decided to put it out of its misery by shooting it.
She said the dog went down, and they drove down the road, turned around and went back. She said the dog was standing, so they shot it again. By this time neighbors had called 911.
Nelson says there was no indication that the dog had been hit by a vehicle.
"There was nothing there other than the wound to the eye where the first gunshot went in and the wound to the back where the second gunshot went in," he said.
Nelson said you are allowed to humanely put down your animal by shooting it, but must be done in one shot so the animal doesn't suffer.
He said, "The problem is when they left and came back and then left again, and the animal was still suffering."
Nelson recommended calling Animal Control if you think your pet has been hurt and you're unsure of how to handle it.
Because there was no evidence that the dog had been hit by a car, and because it was shot twice, Wallace and Gardner were arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
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