A Trail man faces a felony animal abuse charge for allegedly shooting a dog that he believed had defecated on his property, police said.
The owner of a shepherd-mix dog let the animal out on the morning of Nov. 10 and then grew concerned when the dog did not return after a few hours.
The owner then walked to the end of her driveway and found the dog sitting by the front gate of her property on Highway 62. The owner was shocked at the sight, according to Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson.
"The owner saw the dog was wounded and covered in blood," Carlson said.
The dog, named Sasha, was rushed to All Creatures Animal Hospital in Eagle Point, where it underwent a procedure to save its life, Carlson said.
Jackson County sheriff's deputies were called to investigate the incident and soon learned the dog had been shot with a .22-caliber gun.
Deputies spoke with a group of juveniles near the dog owner's property and were told a neighbor had fired the shot at the dog from about 40 to 50 yards away.
Deputies approached the suspect's property and talked with Danny Lee Tryon, 56.
During questioning, Tryon told deputies that several neighborhood dogs had been defecating in his yard and that he was tired of it.
He suggested that he shot the dog in retaliation for using his yard as a bathroom, Carlson said.
Tryon was charged with first-degree animal abuse and was lodged in the Jackson County Jail. He was soon released on his own recognizance because of overcrowding at the jail, records show.
First-degree animal abuse is a felony and is charged when a person "maliciously" kills or tortures an animal, according to Oregon law statutes.
The law allows a person to use deadly force against a dog if the animal is acting aggressively or is seen as an immediate threat.
Witnesses told deputies the dog was not a threat to Tryon.
"We are not sure if the dog was actually on his property when he shot it, or whether it was beyond his property line," Carlson said.
Carlson said that it's understandable for neighborhood dogs to be a nuisance, but that residents should make an effort to contact the dog's owners and work things out before resorting to violence.
"Anytime you have an issue with animals, it's always best to talk to your neighbor and try to communicate with them," Carlson said. "You shouldn't take extreme measures."
A deputy who saw the dog on a follow-up call said the animal still was lethargic, but could recover from the shooting, Carlson said.