Dog owner doggone mad

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By Jenny Hartley

INDIAN LAND –An Indian Land dog owner wants to know why her dog was left at Lancaster County Animal Control for 18 hours with a bullet wound to his jaw.

Sally Barnette said her 5-year-old boxer, Momo, came home May 22, after having part of his jaw removed. He was shot by a Lancaster County sheriff's deputy.

Barnette said she was out of town on May 18, when Momo was shot. She said Momo and her female boxer, Mimi, both got out of their pen and went into neighbor Michael Schoeppner's yard.

Schoeppner said the dogs had come toward him several times while he was working in his yard Sunday. He said he felt threatened by the male dog.

"My kids couldn't even go out of the house," Schoeppner said.

Fearing for his children, who are 9 and 13, Schoeppner called the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office. Two deputies came to his house. According to Schoeppner and the deputies' incident report, the dogs advanced aggressively toward the officers several times while they waited for Lancaster County Animal Control to arrive.

Momo came within 10 feet of a deputy and lunged, and that's when he was shot, according to the report. After the shooting, the dogs ran to the front porch at Barnette's home.

"The police officers amazed me with the restraint they showed," Schoeppner said.

"They did everything in their power not to do that. I didn't want it to happen like that, but there are so many kids in my neighborhood,"

The dogs were captured by Animal Control and taken to the animal shelter in Lancaster shortly afterwards.

Although she doesn't think her dogs are aggressive, Barnette doesn't dispute that her dogs were roaming the neighborhood that day. Her biggest concern is that Momo received no medical care until she was able to pick him up at the animal Shelter.

"They didn't have to shoot my dog and leave him to bleed at the dog jail for 18 hours," Barnette said. "It's cruelty to animals. My front porch is riddled with blood stains."

Animal Control Director Joel Hinson said the animal shelter has no veterinarian on staff. Hinson said he talked to the responding animal control officer, and didn't think the dog had suffered a deadly injury.

"He was up and walking around," Hinson said.

Part of the county's recently approved animal control ordinance allows animal control officers to immediately euthanize a critically injured animal if the owner can't be contacted. Hinson decided to hold Momo at the shelter until the Barnettes returned home May 19.

"It's kind of one of those things where you're danged if you do, and danged if you don't," Hinson said. "We didn't want to destroy the animal. We were trying to act in the dog's and the family's best interests."

Hinson said he will now have to consider whether the Barnettes' dogs are dangerous under the new ordinance. The Barnettes have not received any citations, but the matter may have to go to magistrate's court.