Beagle shot dead; neighbor could be charged

Princess and her owner. (Courtesy: family photo)

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The shooting death of Princess, a family’s beagle, is pitting neighbor against neighbor and could lead to a felony charge.

“Who would want to do that to that little sweet dog?” said Travis Lucas, whose family, including three children, rescued Princess last fall.

Mike Lindower, who lives nearby at Rupert Avenue and Vineyard Street NE, said he was home Friday afternoon when it happened in the yard behind him.

“I heard a dog barking, looked out the window, heard a gunshot and no dog barking,” Lindower said.

Princess (right). (Courtesy: family photo)
(Princess on the right)

He found the beagle, dead, in his neighbor’s yard, and carried her up to his deck and wrapped her in a sheet. The dog had a collar and a tag with her name and owner’s phone number. Lindower said he called the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

Princess lived with the Lucas family in Grand Rapids Township — about 150 yards from where she died.

“When we rescued her, they just fell in love with her,” Travis Lucas said of his daughter and two young sons.

Princess slept in his daughter’s bed.

“All the love she could take, she would get,” he said. “She was just a sweet little dog.”

She was anything but menacing, he said, except maybe to rabbits. But to get them, she had to dig under the fence, which she’d done several times before. Lucas said he tried to keep the holes filled with rocks and blocked with chicken wire.

“She’d go into the swamp and chase rabbits or squirrels or whatever, come back and she’d be all muddy,” he said.

But on Friday, Princess didn’t come back.

Lindower, the neighbor who found her, said he can’t understand why anybody would have shot Princess. He’d never seen her running loose in the area.

“There’s no livestock to protect; he has no vested interest in anything that I’m aware of,” Lindower said. “It terrifies me that that might happen if someone feels that way about animals. We have children who play around here. What happens if they miss the animal they’re shooting at?”

The alleged shooter wasn’t home when 24 Hour News 8 tried to reach him for comment.

On Tuesday, the dog’s owners said they authorized a necropsy to confirm she was shot.

Kent County Sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Kelley said investigators are trying to determine if the neighbor had a legal reason to shoot the dog.

He said expects detectives to turn over the case to prosecutors next week to consider possible charges of animal cruelty, which carries up to four years in prison.

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