St. George Police respond to public outcry after man kills neighbor’s dog with pruning shears

"Chewy" the dog. The pet was allegedly killed by a neighbor in St. George. Image via Facebook.

“Chewy” the dog. The pet was allegedly killed by a neighbor in St. George. Image via Facebook.

ST. GEORGE, Utah — After posts on social media began attracting major attention, the St. George Police Department has issued a statement on the case of a dog that was hit and killed by a man with pruning shears after the dog ran onto the man’s property.

According to St. George PD, officers responded to a home in the area of 2040 East around 4:30 p.m. Friday on report that a man had killed his neighbor’s dog.

Police said the dog entered the neighbor’s yard as the man was maintaining his landscaping, and the man swung pruning shears at the dog when it approached him.

“The sheers(sic) ended up striking the dog in the head, killing it instantly,” police stated on Facebook Saturday. “As sad as it is that the dog was hit and killed, the circumstances were worsened by the fact that the incident was witnessed by the dog owner’s juvenile daughter.”

The owner of the dog, named “Chewy”, stated on Facebook that all her dog did was run into the man’s yard.

Police stated that at this time they are still in the process of gathering information. They say the relevant criminal code is aggravated cruelty to an animal, and they stated that charges would depend on a person’s mental intent at the time of the incident.

“We must be able to show an intent level to determine what penalties may be imposed if the suspect is convicted,” police stated. “It also impacts what options the officer has when determining whether to cite or arrest a suspect.”

Police said that there are conflicting reports about what the suspect was intending to do when he swung his shears at the dog, and they said no police were present so they cannot make an arrest based on what they know so far. Police further stated they will continue to work with the prosecutor’s office to determine if charges will be filed.

They closed by addressing community concerns about the case:

“The St. George Police Department does feel that this incident is significant and has had a significant impact on the children and family who own the dog. Our goal is to fully and effectively investigate ALL aspects of this incident to determine what legal options for criminal charges we have and then to proceed with the most appropriate and effective option. We understand, with the emotions involved, how it might seem that the “police are doing nothing about it,” but that is not the case. We are trying to do the RIGHT thing to address this situation.

Where this is an ongoing investigation we can’t discuss the factors and details that play into the final decision, we are working to establish what they are. We feel badly for the family that lost their pet and understand the impact it has had on them.”