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Judge set to rule in dog-shooting case on Nov. 6

October 28, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The fate of a Williamsport man accused of shooting two dogs that ran onto his property will be decided next month by a Washington County Circuit Court judge.

Judge W. Kennedy Boone on Monday heard arguments from attorneys in the case of Jeffrey Hurd, who is accused of killing a Labrador retriever with a high-powered rifle in July 2007, and a German shepherd in May 2008, as they chased wild game onto his property. The dogs belonged to separate families who lived near Hurd.

No witnesses were called to the stand Monday, but the prosecutor read statements from several people involved in the case.

Boone said he would announce his decision at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 6.

If convicted of both animal cruelty charges, which are felonies, Hurd could face a maximum sentence of six years in prison and $10,000 in fines, said Hurd's attorney, Lewis C. Metzner.

Hurd, 55, of 11845 Camden Road, also was charged with two misdemeanor counts of property damage less than $500, Metzner said. Each of those counts carries a sentence of 60 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine.

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Metzner said in court that the dogs were chasing wild animals, including a deer and a turkey, when Hurd fired the shots.

Metzner read from a state statute that says "any Natural Resources police officer, law enforcement officer or any other person may kill any dog found pursuing any deer" in Washington County.

Metzner said Hurd had the right to shoot the dogs before they caught and "mutilated" the wild animals.

"Is (Hurd) or any landowner required to sit and watch that take place?" Metzner said. "... The state wants to ignore the rights of the property owner."

Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said that in the case of the German shepherd, Hurd fired three shots at the dog from about 170 yards. The first shot crippled the dog and a second shot missed. Michael said it was unnecessary to fire the third and fatal shot because the dog already had been incapacitated.

The Labrador retriever was shot twice before it died, Michael said.

Michael said Hurd inflicted unnecessary and unjustifiable pain upon the dogs in each case.

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