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Published: Saturday, 7/3/2010

Authorities charge pair with animal cruelty after neighbors' dog shot

Dr. Roger Grothaus examines Tyson, who was was shot. The dog's owner is Josh Luck. Dr. Roger Grothaus examines Tyson, who was was shot. The dog's owner is Josh Luck.
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The Toledo Area Humane Society filed charges Friday afternoon in Toledo Municipal Court against a South Toledo man and his Michigan girlfriend who are accused of kidnapping a neighbor's dog and shooting it twice with a gun.

Executive Director John Dinon said that both suspects, Eric Skowron, 34, of 1108 Rochelle Rd., and Alisha Marie King, 29, of Lambertville, Mich., are now charged with cruelty to animals and causing injury to animals.

The city of Toledo prosecutor's office is still considering additional charges against the pair for criminal trespass, illegal discharge of a firearm, petty theft, and filing a false police report, Mr. Dinon said.

The dog, named Tyson, miraculously survived bullet wounds in his left eye and his chest after Mr. Skowron is accused of kidnapping the dog from its yard, then shooting it twice with a 45-caliber handgun.

Also Friday, the Toledo veterinarian who is overseeing the treatment of Tyson said he expects the animal to recover.

"He's not out of the woods yet, but looking at him I think he's going to make it," said Dr. Roger Grothaus, of the Reynolds Road Animal Clinic.

"This is a very tough dog. I don't think there are many dogs out there that can withstand the punishment and pain he went through."

Dr. Grothaus said Tyson's going to have to have surgery to remove his left eye and possibly to remove bullets from his front right leg.

The black 9-year-old shepherd, lab, and Rottweiler mix is back home and recovering from injuries that include an erratic heartbeat, memory loss, and partial loss of vision.

Two .45 bullets remain lodged in a fat pad on his front right leg.

The Toledo Area Humane Society reviewed video footage from the scene before filing charges against the two accused abductors.

Police say that Mr. Skowron called 911 the night of the incident to say he had "shot a dog several times that was attacking his dog," according to a report.

But the responding officers said they didn't find any injuries on Mr. Skowron's dog.

"If someone leaves their dog run loose, you call the dog warden or you go down and have a conversation with them," Mr. Dinon said Thursday. "You don't kidnap their dog and shoot it - that's just crazy."

The incident occurred at about 8:30 p.m. June 23. Now a week later, Tyson's owners are outraged over what their neighbors up the road allegedly did and say they are concerned for their own safety.

Owner Kelly Luck said that neither she nor her two children have ever spoken to Mr. Skowron.

"If he is unstable enough to do that to my dog, who is to say this guy doesn't get crazy enough to come and take out my family?" Ms. Luck asked. "I am not comfortable being in my neighborhood anymore."

The video footage shows two interactions between a man and a woman and Tyson, who was alone in his owners' yard.

During their first visit, the couple pull up to the property in a dark car, get out, and try unsuccessfully to lure the dog into the car.

They leave and soon return with a leash, which the woman uses to retrieve Tyson from the backyard.

She walks the dog along the road in the direction of Mr. Skowron's house, following the car.

Twenty minutes later, the video shows Tyson stumbling home and collapsing in his owners' front yard.

Ms. Luck's son, Josh Luck, 20, said he discovered Tyson the next morning curled up and bleeding next to his pickup truck.

Josh Luck rushed the dog to the veterinarian, assuming he had been hit by a car.

With Tyson's condition worsening, the next day the Lucks drove him to a more intensive care unit at Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, Mich.

That's where they learned the shocking news that it wasn't a car that nearly killed their dog.

"After about half an hour the vet says, ‘Your dog wasn't hit by a car, he was shot twice - once through the eye and once through the chest,'•" Mr. Luck recalled. "I had no idea who would do that to a dog."

Mr. Luck said he pieced together what really happened to his dog after watching the footage from his neighbor's surveillance cameras.

The Lucks said Tyson is outgoing and gentle and they can't imagine what could have provoked his incident.

Occasionally, they said, Tyson will walk the neighborhood, but insist that he is very friendly with everyone and that they never received complaints.

"He is a big baby. He is the friendliest loving dog," Mr. Luck said.

No one answered the door at Mr. Skowron's residence Thursday afternoon, though sounds of a wailing dog could be heard inside.

The neighborhood mailman, Bob Collins, said that Tyson is almost always friendly and well-behaved. Mr. Skowron's dog is a different story.

"His dog is bad," Mr. Collins said. "It's come at me before and he's had to pick up a shovel and chase it away from me."

An attorney for Mr. Skowron told The Blade Thursday that Mr. Skowron felt that the Lucks' wandering and unleashed dog was a threat to his own dog.

That is why he shot him, the attorney said.

The attorney, Don Cameron, said he cannot comment on the alleged kidnapping until he can review the purported video evidence.

"They did try to get this unleashed dog away, and it wouldn't go away and came back," his lawyer said. "[Mr. Skowron] felt threatened enough that he had to use a gun."

Mr. Skowron works at a nuclear plant.

A phone message for Ms. King was not returned Thursday.

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