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Man convicted of killing neighbor’s dogs

A western Maryland man has has been convicted of two counts of animal cruelty for fatally shooting two of his neighbors’ dogs who wandered onto his property.

A German shepherd named Harley was shot in May after he bolted after a rabbit, through a barbed wire fence and onto a neighbor’s property, according to WJZ-TV.

The neighbor, Jeffrey Hurd, of Washington County, had shot and killed another dog, a black lab belonging to the same family, ten months earlier, when it came on his property.

“We need to send a message out that you cannot brutally kill animals like that just for your own enjoyment,” said James Rudolph, whose family owned both dogs.

According to court documents, Hurd fired a high-powered rifle at Harley three times.

Hurd’s lawyer argued his client was trying to protect deer and wild turkeys being chased by the dogs.

Animal cruelty is now a felony in Maryland with a penalty of up to three years in prison. Because Hurd killed two dogs, he faces six years.