BOWLING GREEN — A day before his trial date, a former Pemberville, Ohio, man who fatally shot a dog in front of two children pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of child endangering.
Christopher Zimmerman, 65, who now lives in Tennessee Ridge, Tenn., was then sentenced to 10 days in the Wood County jail by Wood County Common Pleas Judge Reeve Kelsey. He was placed on probation for 170 days and ordered to have no contact with the dog’s owner.
Mr. Zimmerman had been indicted on two felony counts of child endangering stemming from a Sept. 8 incident in which he fatally shot his former neighbor’s 8-month-old border collie/Labrador mix that had come on his property in front of the neighbor’s 6, and 8-year-old sons.
Defense attorney Scott Coon contended the shooting was self-defense — that the dog had menaced Mr. Zimmerman on previous occasions prompting him to contact law enforcement and the dog warden and to speak with his neighbors about their dog. On the day in question, he said the dog ran at Mr. Zimmerman and he took out his gun, for which he had a concealed carry permit, and fired.
“The kids were right across their driveways, which was the horrible part of it,” Mr. Coon said. “They had to witness what happened.”
Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said avoiding a trial in which the youngsters would have been called to testify was part of the reason for entering into the plea agreement. He said the evidence did not bear out the defense’s claims that the dog was coming toward Mr. Zimmerman because the dog was shot in the right side behind the front leg, which indicates the dog was returning to its yard.