guest blog by Deborah Goonan
On New Year’s Eve in Wedgefield, a deed-restricted, golf and equestrian community in Central Florida, someone shot and killed the Evans family’s yellow lab.
The family’s beloved pet escaped from its yard, as pets sometimes do, and apparently wandered onto a neighbor’s property. The neighbor allegedly confronted the owner of the dog, Brock Evans, and threatened to shoot his pet. When Evans quickly went to retrieve his dog, and talked to his neighbor for about ten minutes, he heard several gunshots. Shortly thereafter his dog was found with gunshot wounds, and later died as a result of those injuries. The neighbor denies shooting the dog, but does not deny that his son might have pulled the trigger. Orange County is investigating the matter as a case of cruelty to animals.
Under Florida Statute, the perpetrator, if properly identified and if guilt can be proven, may be charged with a misdemeanor or fined up to $5000 or both. However, if your dog is deemed as “dangerous” or if your neighbor claims that your dog attacked a person, pet or livestock on his property, this often suffices as a defense for shooting your dog.
Before the unfortunate incident, Evans had never spoken to his neighbor, who lives just two doors down the road. Wedgefield is a deed-restricted community with voluntary HOA membership.
FL Statute 775.082
When Killing a Dog is Legally Justified