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Condition added to dog killer's probation

August 10, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A Williamsport man who was ordered in December 2008 to serve 90 days in jail for killing two dogs that were running on his property was back in Washington County Circuit Court Monday after neighbors complained of hearing gunshots coming from the man's property.

Jeffrey Hurd, 56, of 11845 Camden Road, has been free since posting bond Dec. 19, 2008, two days after a Baltimore attorney filed a notice of appeal of Hurd's conviction.

Hurd killed a Labrador retriever with a high-powered rifle in July 2007, and killed a German shepherd in May 2008.

As a special condition of his probation, Hurd may not own, possess, handle or carry firearms.

After hearing from two of Hurd's neighbors Monday morning, and reading letters that were submitted to the court, Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III added an additional condition to the probation -- no one may discharge a firearm on any property owned by Hurd.

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Sonja Pereschuk on Monday morning told the judge about a February encounter in which she felt she was threatened by a man she believed was Hurd.

She went to the mailbox to retrieve her mail when a car stopped and a man she identified in court as Hurd shook his fist at her. She could not hear what the man said, Pereschuk said, but she believed it was threatening.

Another neighbor, Eric Haberkorn, told the judge about two consecutive Sundays in May when he heard the sound of shots coming from Hurd's property. A sheriff's deputy called to investigate the incident said Monday in court that the shots appeared to have been fired by Hurd's cousin, who said he was adjusting the sighting on his muzzleloader.

Haberkorn told the judge that he believed the shooting incidents were premeditated and were intended to terrorize Hurd's neighbors.

Pereschuk and Haberkorn are listed as plaintiffs in a civil action against Hurd that is set to be heard by a jury in October. He 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.

The dogs Hurd killed were chasing wild game onto Hurd's property, Boone said in November. Boone heard the case Oct. 27, 2008, and in November 2008, announced that he found Hurd guilty of two counts of mutilating an animal and two counts of malicious destruction of property under $500. He sentenced Hurd on Dec. 5, 2008.

Hurd did not have to report to jail until Dec. 19, 2008, in order to allow time for a medical procedure.

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

Hurd's appeal is set to go before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals for oral arguments in December, attorneys said Monday.

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