Pinson man arrested for allegedly shooting dogs while hunting

Published 6:35 pm Friday, January 25, 2019

A Pinson man turned himself in Friday on animal cruelty charges after allegedly shooting two dogs while hunting on Jan. 12, according to the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department.

David Green, 47, has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty and theft of property third degree. The theft charge is a felony, and the two animal cruelty charges are misdemeanors.

According to Joey Gillenwaters, president of the Chambers County Alabama Dog Hunters Association, the incident happened on property near the Ridge Grove Hunting Club just outside of LaFayette. The dogs’ owner was hunting on the club’s property when they got beyond the club’s property chasing a deer.

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The dogs were out of the owner’s line of sight when he heard a single gunshot. The dogs’ collar was equipped with a GPS tracking device, so when the owner looked to see where they were, he noticed they stopped moving after the gunshot, Gillenwaters said.

A couple of minutes later, he said there were three more shots.

As the owner got closer, he heard one of the dogs whimpering, so he called the conservation enforcement officer.

Gillenwaters said Conservation Enforcement Officer John Davidson reported to the scene, along with the sheriff’s office. From there, a criminal investigation was launched into the situation.

“It is illegal to shoot dogs,” he said. “There is a way to deal with dogs on a property, and that is definitely not it.”

Gillenwaters said one of the dogs died and the other dog was taken to a veterinarian.

He said the surviving dog had its leg amputated.

“This is not something we are going to tolerate in Chambers County,” Gillenwaters said. “Just because a dog is on your property, it doesn’t mean you can kill them.”   

The law

Davidson said if a dog gets off of a club’s property and onto other hunting land, the person on the other area can try to catch the dog and get the collar information or file a complaint against the club.

He said hunting clubs operate under a permit system and multiple complaints against a club can result in restrictions. Davidson said the club’s permit can be restricted to just stock hunting and no dog hunting.

Chris Lewis, assistant chief of law enforcement with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said dog hunters are required to equip their dog with a collar with their information.

The problem, Lewis said, is when hunting dogs start chasing deer, all they know is “see deer, chase deer.”

“It’s called dog intrusion, and it’s a constant problem, but you can’t just shoot people’s dogs,” he said.

Some owners have GPS trackers in the collars or something that can shock the dog to back off the chase, but Lewis some of that equipment can get pricey.

“Every year, we deal with this multiple times a year,” he said. “It is the same with raccoon dogs, not just deer dogs.”

Lonnie Miller, statewide president with the Alabama Dog Hunter’s Association, said dogs being shot has always been a problem, but there seems to be more awareness about it now.

He said there are more chapters of the association, including the Chambers County Chapter that just opened, that provide a network for dog hunters throughout the state.

Miller said the association’s stance is that hunters need to keep their dogs off property they aren’t supposed to be on.

He said the association promotes dog hunting and when something like this happens, it’s frustrating, but it’s not the dog’s fault.

“It’s fine to give the owner a ticket, but don’t kill our dogs,” he said.

Miller said some people consider hunting dogs as family pets and pay a lot of money to have them.

He said the association is pushing legislators to introduce laws making it a felony to kill a dog and a felony to remove a collar of any kind.

“If you do that, then it would be unlawful for that individual to be hunting again,” he said. “You are not going to kill our dogs without us having some repressions.”