VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – A local pastor is facing charges after a dog was shot several times and was ultimately euthanized due to his injuries.
The owner of the dog, Kimberly Ellis, said her 15-month-old black lab, Tucker, got loose on Saturday with her other dog — a German Shepherd — when he was shot. One of the bullets hit Tucker’s vertebrae, shattering it, and went into the spinal cord.
“We both agreed at that point to euthanize him,” said Ellis, who said she is mourning the loss of her faithful companion.
After word of Tucker’s death got out, posts with “Justice for Tucker” started popping up on social media and on signs throughout the township.
“Being tight-knit like this, you know, word spreads very fast,” said Vienna Police Chief Bob Ludt.
Pastor David Murphy, of the Apostolic Bible Church in Niles, is accused of shooting the dog. Murphy said he was just trying to scare Tucker and another dog that was with him away from his chickens.
“I do feel bad,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. I have a conscience about it.”
He said his actions were not malicious, however.
“I shot at the dogs, and I did not intend to hit them,” he said. “I’m sorry that happened.”
On Monday, Murphy was charged with a misdemeanor cruelty to animals charge through Girard Municipal Court.
A police report filed with Vienna Police details that Ellis reported hearing three gunshots, followed by a fourth shot and the yelp of an animal when her dog was shot. She followed the noise to a nearby home where Murphy lived and found her dog with three bullet wounds.
Police questioned Murphy, who said the dogs were “acting aggressively” toward the chickens. He said he fired several shots to scare them, and they left the yard.
Ellis said she just wants justice for her beloved pet.
“I can’t replace Tucker, but I can only hope that this, this all came about with that particular individual to correct his wrongness,” she said.