June 6, 2014
A Northeast Georgia dog is dead after being shot last week by an off-duty Royston police officer, WLHR News reported June 5. Now an outside magistrate has been called in to hear the case.
Royston Police Captain Kenny Reynolds killed Booder, a pit/pit mix, with his rifle the night of May 28. Reynolds left Booder to die alone, not even having the decency to contact Booder’s owner, Mark Jordan.
Reynolds isn’t denying he shot Booder, stating his chihuahua needed to pee “undisturbed.” When Booder showed up in the backyard of his Mount Olivet Road home, Royston said he was afraid Booder, along with another dog who was with him, would harm his chihuahua. So Reynolds shot Booder.
Mark Jordan, Booders owner, was visiting a neighbor of Captain Reynolds. Cleveland says there were no witnesses to the shooting, so Reynold’s version of what happened that afternoon is all police have to go on. Police was notified Thursday when Booder was found shot to death.
Now the department is standing behind Reynolds and his decision to kill Booder. Reynolds hasn’t even been suspending, pending an investigation. Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland stated to WLHR News
“We received a call Thursday afternoon where the property owners had found their dog dead on their property just inside a barbed wire fence. When we arrived, they had already asked Mr. Reynolds did he shoot their dog. He said he shot a dog, but he didn’t know if it was their dog or not.”
According to Reynolds, the dog was on his property when shot, but no blood was discovered leading back to where Booder died. The family disputes Booder was on the neighbor’s property at the time he was shot.
There are records on file where Reynolds reported dogs as trespassing on his property and killing his chickens. A person is also allowed to kill a dog believed dangerous, as long as it’s on personal property.
The difficult part of the law is whether a dog who has previously killed chickens returns to the property and doesn’t bother the chickens at that time.
Cleveland said people in the small community of Hart County are in an uproar over the incident. So much so that he asked an outside magistrate to come in and hear the case.
The investigation by the Hart County Sheriff’s Office has concluded, and the case is now in the hands of Hart County Magistrate’s Office. Clevelend commented on the case
“The Magistrate Judge has contacted the Magistrate’s Council to appoint an unbiased Magistrate Judge with no ties to either party, to hear this case in court.”
A dog has to be causing lot of trouble at the time it’s shot for the shooting to be justified. A person can’t legally shoot a dog for the sole reason of the dog trespassing.
A magistrate judge will be able to decide whether Reynolds had the right to shoot Booder, or whether he should be charged with animal cruelty. In the state of Georgia, animal cruelty is a misdemeanor, whereas aggravated animal cruelty is a felony.
Contact information for Royston Police Captain Kenny Reynold superiors is listed below.
Chief of Police Donnie Bolemon
830 Church St
Royston, Georgia 30662
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