Deputies: Man killed stray dog in self defense

Tazewell County Virginia
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The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is receiving backlash over a stray dog’s death after an investigation ruled that a man killed the go in self defense. 

Deputies said a stray dog reportedly attacked an elderly man after eating his chickens. The man then killed the dog by hitting the dog in the head with a yard tool. Deputies tell 59 News this dog was wanted by the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office for months. 

“This was a wild dog that had been doing several things in the neighborhood for months, killing other people’s chickens, messing around their house, tearing things up. This is an animal we had been trying to catch but hadn’t be able to catch him yet, ” Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt said. 

Sheriff Hieatt said since the man acted in self defense, the man was not charged with a crime. 

“But in a case where there is no criminal charge to make, regardless of how we feel or how other people’s opinions are, we can’t make a charge and take something to court without having the proof and the law to back it, ” Sheriff Hieatt added. 

One woman in the community is posting articles on Facebook disagreeing with how the sheriff handled the case, but she hasn’t spoken to law enforcement.

“I know that while a case is open, that that is not something they are going to share 9 times out of 10.  Once the case is closed and over, I think then the 911 tapes become available for public and you know the body cam footage and what not, ” Rhoda Kay, Director of Tazewell Animal Rescue Coalition, said. 

After the back lash started on Facebook, the sheriff’s office examined the investigation again. 

“We followed up with a second investigation. We went and had the dog examined by a vet. We called in people from the humane society and the animal shelter just to look at everything just to see if their opinion was different from what our officers came up with,” Hieatt said. 

Even Kay acknowledges that more needs to be done to help out animal control officers. 

“I wish they had more resources at their disposal. I think animal control issues get to the bottom of the pile when the county has it’s meetings,” Kay added. 

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