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Published: Friday, 3/25/2005

Family wants neighbor charged in death of 2 dogs

Andrew Purtee, with his children, Sydney, 5, and Andrew, 9, and their dog Brooke, blames a neighbor for the shooting death of two other pets. Andrew Purtee, with his children, Sydney, 5, and Andrew, 9, and their dog Brooke, blames a neighbor for the shooting death of two other pets.

WAUSEON Two days after Jack the beagle and Brutus the Labrador puppy died of gunshot wounds, the Andrew Purtee family posted a sign in their front yard: Dear God, Please forgive our neighbor for killing our dogs. Love, Drew, 8 years, and Sydney, 5 years

This weekend, Andrew Purtee plans to make a second sign for his yard on Fulton County Road C, southwest of Wauseon: Honk if you hate dog killers.

Mr. Purtee would like authorities to file criminal charges against a fellow resident on his rural road who he claims shot his family s pets.

Mr. Purtee filed a report with the Fulton County Sheriff s Office on Monday.

Charges had not been filed yesterday. A sheriff s spokesman told The Blade the case would be sent to the county prosecutor for review. Mr. Purtee said a dispatcher told him yesterday the sheriff s office had not finalized its report for the prosecutor because deputies wanted to interview the person he claims shot his dogs on Sunday afternoon.

I just want people in the community to know, Mr. Purtee said about the loss of Jack, who was his son Drew s favorite dog, and Brutus, which Drew recalled as a playful puppy.

If no criminal charges are filed, Mr. Purtee said he would file a civil lawsuit, asking for thousands of dollars to cover veterinary bills for his beagle and replace his carpet, stained with blood from the wounded beagle.

The bodies of the beagle, who was 2 years old, and the chocolate Labrador retriever puppy, who was 6 months old, have been frozen at the Fulton County Dog Pound as evidence, Deputy Dog Warden Brian Banister said. Both dogs were shot, he said, according to autopsies performed by Northwest Veterinary Hospital Inc.

Mr. Purtee said the man he accuses of the shooting admitted to him that he killed two of the Purtee family s three dogs because they ran onto his property and chased his cats. The man told him he aimed at the beagle, who annoyed him, and the puppy apparently got in the way of the gunshot, Mr. Purtee said.

Mr. Purtee was away from home Sunday afternoon when his brother let the dogs outside. The beagle returned yelping, with blood on its back, and Mr. Purtee s brother couldn t find the puppy.

The beagle died at the veterinary hospital. The Purtees later found their puppy dead in a nearby farm field.

Peter Skeldon, Fulton County dog warden, said that if a dog is running loose on the property of another, it is breaking the law. However, that doesn t give the property owner the right to shoot the dog unless it threatens harm to the property owner, other people, or livestock.

Mr. Skeldon said the neighbor has cats that live outdoors and, in the past, the dogs have chased the cats.

Mr. Skeldon said the legal possibilities range from a civil lawsuit for destruction of property to a criminal charge for cruelty to animals.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:jschmucker@theblade.comor 419-337-7780.

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