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Neighbor testifies about 30-year relationship with dog shooter

April 29, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- The case of a Williamsport man being sued by neighbors who claim he has harassed them for years continued Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Arthur Pereschuk, testified Thursday about his relationship with Jeffrey Lynn Hurd over a period of more than 30 years.

Hurd was convicted of killing Pereschuk's dog, Bristol, on July 22, 2007. Pereschuk testified that his dog was not on a leash when it left his property with another dog unnoticed during a family gathering.

Pereschuk testified that he and family members heard shots from Hurd's property and feared that something had happened to the animals. Hurd later called him, Pereschuk testified.

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"I was sitting in my tree stand reading my Bible ... I saw your dog chasing a deer and I shot her," Pereschuk testified Hurd told him.

Less than a year later, on May 8, 2008, Harley, a dog belonging to James and Renee Rudolph, Pereschuk's daughter and son-in-law, was shot on Hurd's property, Pereschuk testified.

When Pereschuk and the Rudolphs went to get the dog's body, there was an argument with Hurd, Pereschuk testified.

"If you don't get off my property, I'll shoot you and say a turkey flew out," Pereschuk testified Hurd told his daughter.

Hurd was convicted on criminal charges for shooting the dogs, although one of the convictions was overturned by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, according to court records.

Pereschuk testified to a number of earlier incidents involving Hurd cursing, making obscene gestures, challenging him to fights, and patrolling the property line with a rifle and burning a large pile of brush near their house. The fire company was called to put the fire out, Pereschuk testified.

Pereschuk, often crying on the witness stand, testified that he has been undergoing counseling and taking medications since 2008 for emotional issues.

On cross-examination by Hurd's attorney, William Wantz, Pereschuk testified that he still engages in many of the activities he did before the dogs were shot, including family gatherings, church and working part time for his brother.

Pereschuk also testified there were periods of years when there were no incidents involving Hurd.

Pereschuk's wife, Sonja, testified that the biggest impact on her life has been the emotional problems her husband has had since Bristol and Harley were killed.

Wantz asked her how the emotional distress had changed her daily life.

"I cannot think of anything I could not do," she testified.

The Pereschuks, the Rudolphs, and Eric and Mary Haberkorn are suing Hurd for intentional infliction of emotional distress and several nuisance claims, many related to surface mining and other work he does on his property.

D. Bruce Poole, the attorney for the plaintiffs, told Judge John H. McDowell he will present his final witnesses today. Wantz said he could begin presenting evidence on Hurd's behalf today or Monday.

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