Police had some questions for a Tacoma man accused of killing a neighbor’s Chihuahua mix with a BB gun Sunday, according to charging papers.
Did he fear for his safety?
Was the dog biting him?
Could he have called police about his problem with the animal?
Instead of doing that, “he admitted his frustration built up to the point where he went and got the BB gun and shot the dog,” Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor Brian Leech wrote.
Prosecutors charged the 35-year-old man with first-degree animal cruelty Monday. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, and Superior Court Judge Edmund Murphy set bail at $10,000.
Court records give this account of the death of Romeo, the 5-year-old Chihuahua-cattle dog mix:
Police got a report about 12:30 p.m. of shots fired at apartments in the 4600 block of 45th Avenue Northeast. They arrived to find Romeo’s owners gathered around the dog’s body, crying.
The officers learned the only witness to the shooting was an 11-year-old girl, who told them the dog had been running loose, as he often did in the neighborhood.
The man started yelling at him, and a few minutes later grabbed a gun from his apartment and shot the animal. Others said they heard a BB gun go off, and then a loud cry from the dog.
The BB appeared to have punctured one of the animal’s back hips.
Police took the shooter into custody. He told them that, as he worked on his car, the dog had been growling and barking at him, but hadn’t been acting threateningly.
Romeo caused trouble for other tenants when he was loose, the man said, and he got tired of the problem.
“He acknowledged that his actions were stupid and that he did not think clearly,” Leech wrote.