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Dog killer going to jail

December 06, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A Williamsport man will serve 90 days in jail for killing two dogs that were running on his property, a Washington County Circuit Court judge ordered Friday after a sentencing hearing that took nearly two hours.

Jeffrey Hurd, 55, of 11845 Camden Road, killed a Labrador retriever with a high-powered rifle in July 2007 and killed a German shepherd in 2008. In each case, the dogs were chasing wild game onto Hurd's property, Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III said in November.

Following an Oct. 27 bench trial, Boone announced Nov. 6 that he found Hurd guilty of two counts of mutilating an animal and two counts of malicious destruction of property under $500.

On Friday afternoon, about 20 people including the dogs' owners, their families and other neighbors packed the prosecutor's side of the courtroom.

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Boone sentenced Hurd to six years in prison for each of the mutilation charges, but suspended all but 90 days in each case and ordered that the sentences run concurrently. He also ordered Hurd to serve the maximum of 60 days for each of the malicious destruction charges, and ordered those sentences to run concurrently as well.

Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael asked the judge to sentence Hurd to time in the Division of Correction, citing three previous convictions: trespassing, harassment and fourth-degree sex offense. Hurd's crimes progressed toward greater danger, Michael said.

"He's dangerous," he said.

Hurd was placed on probation, beginning Friday, and as a special condition of his probation may not own, possess, handle or carry firearms.

Several of the victims spoke Friday before Boone announced his sentence.

Arthur Pereschuk has lived in the area for more than 20 years and had "nothing but problems with him (Hurd)," he told the judge.

After Hurd shot the second dog, "I totally broke down, I couldn't handle it anymore," Pereschuk said. Pereschuk has been in therapy since June, he said.

"I will never, ever forgive that man for what he has done," he said.

Hurd's defense during the October trial was that the dogs were chasing wild animals, including a deer and a turkey, when Hurd fired the shots.

Defense attorney Lewis C. Metzner had 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.

Jim Rudolph, owner of a German shepherd named Harley who Hurd shot May 8, 2008, said Friday he wanted it to be clear there was no wild game in the area when Hurd shot Harley.

Hurd also faces a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by the owners of the dogs and other neighbors who allege that Hurd is a nuisance who patrols the property line armed with a gun, fires a gun daily and has made death threats to his neighbors and government officials.

Hurd is scheduled for surgery Monday and does not have to report to the Washington County Detention Center until Dec. 19, Boone said.

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