Neighbor shoots dog, officials say actions were legal - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Neighbor shoots dog, officials say actions were legal

Authorities in Warrick County are saying a neighbors actions were legal after he shot and killed a man's dog.

Josh and Sarah Brown owned two border collies. On Thursday, they realized the older one, Macy, was missing.

They contacted Warrick County Animal Control to see if she was there, but they were told that Macy had been shot and killed on Wednesday.

Their neighbor, Gary Lockhart, raises Thoroughbreds on his fenced-in farm which backs up to the Brown's house.

According to Lockhart, the Brown's dog got through the fence on Wednesday, and was chasing his horse.

That's when he said he shot the dog.

"She was shot once, as stated by the Animal Control officer, the break of her neck, which was an instant kill shot," said Josh.

The Browns said Lockhart robbed them of a family member. According to deputies, Lockhart says he was simply protecting his livelihood. They are questioning the immediacy of his actions.

However, deputies said Lockhart has a right to protect his horses.

"If you feel like another person or an animal is in danger of being significantly harmed or killed, then yes you do have the right to protect yourself," said Sheriff Brett Kruse. "You nick a tendon or something on a racehorse and that racehorse is out of commission and these people invest a lot of money in their horses. You don't spend that kind of money and let a dog take that away from you."

Lockhart openly admits to shooting the dog and said he has shot other dogs in the neighborhood only because they threatened his horses. 

Josh said he doesn't think Macy was ever a real threat.

The Browns said Lockhart never told him she chased his horses. He had only complained to them before, about their dogs barking, and had threatened to shoot them. They never thought he would actually go through with it.

"He'd just seen a golden opportunity to stop the barking, which he did," said Josh.

Lockhart said he warned the Browns and that he even called the Warrick County Sheriff's Office, as well as Warrick County Animal Control before he took matters into his own hands.

"If a dog is on your property and the dog is after your livestock or after a person, you have a right to protect yourself or your animals from that dog," said Kruse.

Warrick County Animal Control confirms the dog was found outside of Lockhart's fence, which is still his property.

According to the Warrick County Sheriff's Office, Lockhart will not face any charges.

The Browns say they are in touch with the Indiana State Police to see if they can file any charges against Lockhart.

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.

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