GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — An 86-year-old Montcalm County man who told 24 Hour News 8 he shot and killed his neighbors’ dog now faces three misdemeanor charges.
Harry German is expected to be arraigned Friday on charges of malicious destruction of personal property worth between $200 and $1,000, reckless use of a firearm and shooting from a safety zone, according to a release.
If convicted of all three misdemeanors, German could spend up to a year and a half in jail and/or up to $3,000 in fines.
“It was an absolute accident,” German told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday.
Amber Rood of the Belding-Greenville area told 24 Hour News 8 she let her family’s bullmastiff dog Misha out of their home during a Feb. 21 winter storm. When the dog didn’t return after about half an hour, the family started looking for her. After looking for about a week, they were not able to find Misha.
German told 24 Hour News 8 Misha and another dog came onto his property Feb. 21.
“They ran back into the pines. Then when they come back again the second time, that is when I tried to scare them away,” German said.
His scare tactic was a gun.
“So I raised up my .22, aimed behind the back dog. I fired: Bang. The dog took off, of course. Well, I scared him. Then went a little ways and I fired again,” he said. “The back dog slowed down. And I thought it was going to stop, so I just raised up from my hip and fired a shot off.”
That was the third shot he fired.
“In a second or two, the back dog dropped. And I went down there and the dog was dead,” German said.
Rood said a neighbor then told her they suspected German of shooting Misha because they had heard shots the night the dog went missing.
Rood confronted German, she said, and he denied knowing anything. But, Rood said, he also said that Rood should keep her dog on her own property. She said that was a red flag.
“If you are trying to scare a dog shoot in the air don’t aim for the jugular and watch the dog drop,” said Amber Rood in a phone interview with 24 Hour News 8.
Eventually, the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office became involved. Rood said deputies found Misha’s remains still in German’s backyard and determined German had shot and killed Misha.
Rood said deputies told her German claimed Misha had chased wild turkeys in the past, he shot her when he saw her again because he didn’t like that she was chasing the turkeys.
German also told 24 Hour News 8 that he was sick of the dogs defecating in his yard.
“We’re neighbors. I did not know this was happening. He has never contacted us. I can’t fix something if I don’t know it’s happening,” said Rood.
She said authorities said it does not appear that German shot the dog in self-defense or in defense of livestock, which would justify the charges.
“Sure, I’m remorseful. I felt bad the minute it happened. I couldn’t believe that dog dropped,” German said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Montcalm County Animal Control said 70 or 80 dogs had been removed from Rood’s property. That was not correct. Rood says she has only ever had two dogs.