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Published: Wednesday, 4/27/2005

Neighbor who shot dogs told to pay fines

WAUSEON - A rural Wauseon man who shot his neighbor's beagle and Labrador retriever puppy last month was ordered yesterday in Fulton County's Western District Court to pay fines and costs of $190 in addition to the $500 he already deposited with the court.

And the owner of the beagle and puppy he shot is to be charged with failure to confine his dogs, a minor misdemeanor, in a deal reached between Gregory L. VanGunten, a Delta attorney representing Gary L. Cochrane, and Fulton County Prosecutor Roger Nagel.

Mr. Cochrane, of 17894 Fulton County Road C, also was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but the jail time will be suspended if he has no similar convictions for two years and makes restitution, which he did.

Charged with two counts of knowingly and needlessly killing a companion animal, he pleaded no contest to one count and the other count was dismissed in the court where Wauseon lawyer Mark Powers was the acting judge.

The agreement calls for Andrew Purtee, whose family lives beside the Cochrane family, to receive $300 in restitution for the beagle and the pup. The other $390 Mr. Cochrane paid is to go to the court.

Because one count of killing a companion animal was dismissed against Mr. Cochrane, Mr. Purtee, likewise, will be charged with only one count of failure to confine his dogs, even though at least two of his animals were on the Cochrane property when the shooting occurred, Mr. VanGunten said.

If found guilty, Mr. Purtee would face a maximum fine of $100 plus court costs.

Mr. Purtee said he disagreed with that charge, but has not decided whether to fight it.

He said he plans to file a civil lawsuit against Mr. Cochrane, asking for $3,500. That would cover, he said, his veterinarian bills to treat the injured beagle before it died and replacement of his carpet on which the beagle bled when it ran into the house after it was shot.

"I do forgive," he said. "That does not solve my loss. I am still angry with the loss of my pets."

Mr. Cochrane did not return calls from The Blade.

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