On February 20 a beagle was let outside for 20 minutes to run around in rural Winona County. When it returned home it was short of breath, acting sick, and had a mysterious wound in its right side.
The owner called the Winona County Sheriff, but by the time a deputy arrived the beagle was already dead. Three days later, the dog owner's 46-year-old neighbor, a convicted cattle rustler named Dale Douglas, admitted to shooting the dog, according to charges filed Wednesday by the Winona County Attorney.
The day after the beagle died Douglas told a sheriff's deputy he didn't shoot the dog, instead hypothesizing that maybe it had a heart attack, but two days later he changed his story.
On February 23 Douglas decided to come clean. He admitted to a deputy that his dog and the beagle were roughhousing, so he swatted the beagle, put his dog inside, and told his wife to go fetch his pellet gun. Then he "popped it in the ass" with the gun and the beagle yelped and ran off.
Douglas asked the deputy if he had a right to shoot the beagle because he felt threatened, but the deputy told Douglas he was out of luck -- he was already on record saying he knew the dog wasn't coming after him.
Wednesday night Douglas was charged with two felony counts of overworking or mistreating animals. Each count comes with a maximum of two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
This isn't the first time Douglas has run into trouble with the law involving animals. In 2005 he was convicted of stealing at least 57 cattle from a farmer he worked for, and had to pay nearly $83,000 in restitution after getting the charges knocked down to a misdemeanor.
Click to page two to read both cases' charges for yourself.
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