In Christiansburg, Virginia, the owner of a cat killed by two Labrador retrievers shot the dogs in revenge as they rode in the back of a pickup truck. In the November 9 incident, Stephen Nichols Cook, 68, faced numerous charges in the use of a firearm between Cook and the owner of the dogs – Arthur Hamrick.
According to the Roanoke Times, Cook was convicted on Tuesday of two misdemeanor charges. He was also found guilty of brandishing a firearm and recklessly handling of a firearm with a fine of $2,500 for each offense. The judge also imposed a 12-month jail sentence for each charge, then suspended nine months of each, leaving six months to serve. Felony charges of recklessly shooting at a vehicle and two counts of cruelty to animals were sent on to a grand jury for a decision.
Witnesses testified Cook and his neighbor Hamrick had a long standing feud because of encounters with the cats and the dogs. In a field where Hamrick had been keeping cattle, the two Labrador retrievers named Yancey and Maggie May, were allowed to run free as he worked and fed the animals. The cats, owned by Cook frequently roamed onto the field. In a prior incident where one of Hamrick’s dogs had grabbed one of the cats, the cat survived and Hamrick paid the veterinarian’s bill for the cat’s treatment. In November one of the dogs picked up another cat named Jeffrey in the field; this time the cat died and Cook was extremely distraught.
He picked up his gun and chased down Hamrick’s truck. When Hamrick stopped, Cook pointed at the dogs and shot them; one of the dog’s died immediately and the other dog died before arriving at the vet hospital. In court, Cook’s attorney stated his client was sorry the dogs had been killed, but said he was extremely grief stricken at the time, whereas the assistant prosecutor responded that “revenge or anger is not a justification. That’s why we have laws.”
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