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Tag: run for your life

Shooting your dog in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Friday that a state animal cruelty law is too vague and confusing to be used to prosecute people for shooting and killing their dogs or cats.

The Superior Court overturned the conviction of a northeastern Pennsylvania woman on conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals in the 2006 shooting outside Weissport of her 6-year-old pit bull-chow mix, named Bouta.

“If the Legislature wishes to make it criminal to shoot one’s own dog or cat, it must do so in a clear, unambiguous manner to give reasonable notice that the act is criminal,” wrote Judge Richard B. Klein for the majority. “It did not do so in this case.”

It was the second time in less than a year that the appeals court ruled in favor of Wendy Colleen Kneller of Carbon County, according to an Associated Press report. A decision last February was issued by only three judges, but the court agreed to hear it argued again and on Friday issued an 8-1 ruling.

The dissenting judge, Correale F. Stevens, wrote, “A sweeping policy conclusion that a dog owner can shoot a healthy, happy dog for no reason … would replace the call of ‘Lassie, come home’ with ‘Lassie, run for your life.”‘

The court said Kneller told a state trooper that the dog had bitten her child. Prosecutors said Kneller gave her boyfriend a .40-caliber handgun and told him to shoot the dog. Her lawyer, Paul Levy, said Friday that some people do not have the money to have their pets euthanized at an animal clinic.