Is someone shooting dogs?

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has been recently contacted in regard to claims of someone in the community shooting and killing dogs.

The sheriff’s office is aware of other dogs shot in the past for being unleashed and/or that go on other people’s property and harass or cause injury.

In Florida, there is no state mandated leash law in effect and the decision to regulate dog restraint or control is left to the county or city government. According to the Code of Ordinances of Okeechobee County, “It shall be unlawful for the owner of any animal to permit or allow such animal to be at large or running at large. Any person who shall release, either willfully or through a failure to exercise due care or control, or take such a animals out of such building of secure enclosure and thereby allow such animal to run at large, shall be deemed to be in violation of this chapter.”

At large is defined as not limited to any particular place, district, person, matter, or question; open to discussion or controversy; not precluded, free; unrestrained; not under corporal control; as a ferocious animal so free from restraint as to be liable to do mischief; or not under the voice command of the owner or custodian, or a competent person designated by the owner or custodian; fully, in detail; in an extended form. Running at large means wandering or straying of an animal off the premises of the owner or keeper of such animal. Control means the regulation of the possession, ownership, care and custody of animals.

OCSO has stated that there is not a rash of animal killings but sporadic incidents. The sheriff’s office also stated that they did not initially receive a report from at least two other individuals – who they made contact with – about their dogs being shot and killed.
According to an incident report by OCSO Deputy Jonathon Kemp, at 3:01 p.m. on June 7, he responded to the 5900 block of Northwest 24th Street in regards to an animal complaint.

Upon his arrival Deputy Kemp spoke with the complainant who reportedly informed him that on Tuesday, June 5, she let her three dogs outside for approximately two hours in their gated yard. She then explained that when she went to check on the dogs, the catahoula/American pitbull terrier mix was gone. The complainant stated she attempted to look for the dog but was unable to find it.

On the night of Wednesday, June 6, she reportedly found the missing dog, dead in the ditch across the street from her residence. The woman buried the dog the same night so law enforcement was unable to inspect the body, noted the report. The woman said the dog appeared to have two gunshot wounds, one on it’s back and the other on a back leg.

The complainant reported she was uncertain as to whom may have shot her dog and if it was loose off her property when the incident occurred.

The report concluded that the woman spoke with all of her neighbors, who apparently told her they saw nothing. At the time of the report there were no possible suspects. The woman was advised to contact law enforcement if any further information regarding the case is brought forth. OCSO Animal Control was contacted and notified of the incident.

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