POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested a 53-year-old man on April 19 in connection to allegations that he shot and killed a German shepherd that had been barking at his neighbors caged rabbits.
According to the arrest affidavit, the dog was running away when the man shot it with a .22-caliber rifle.
Tracey Allen Sanders was arrested and charged with state-jail felony cruelty to non-livestock animals on April 19. He has since been released from the Polk County Jail.
According to the arrest affidavit, a Polk County K-9 deputy was approached by a man on April 19, who told him he had just returned from Area Wide Veterinary Clinic because his dogs had gotten loose from his yard and someone had shot them at the first house on Galloway Lane.
When he deputy went to the house on Galloway Lane, a woman told him that when she arrived home, she noticed that dogs were barking at her rabbit pen, which was enclosed by a roof and a cage. She told the PCSO K-9 deputy that she tried to scare the dogs off by throwing things at them and spraying them with a water hose.
At that point, Sanders walked up with a .22-caliber rifle and asked her if she wanted him to shoot. The woman told the PCSO deputy that she said yes because she thought he was just going to try to scare them off, the affidavit stated.
According to the arrest affidavit, when a Labrador retriever turned from barking at the rabbits, Sanders shot it.
When the black and brown German shepherd heard the shot, she turned and ran toward her owner's house. Sanders then reloaded the single-shot .22-caliber rifle and shot the German shepherd as she was running away, the affidavit stated.
The owner of the rabbits told the PCSO deputy that she didn't understand why Sanders shot either of the dogs, the affidavit stated. The woman said the Labrador retriever wasn't being aggressive toward Sanders, and the German shepherd was running away from him, the affidavit stated.
The owner of the rabbits also said she has free-range chickens, and none of them were hurt by the dogs, the affidavit stated.
Later, the PCSO deputy spoke to Sanders, and he allegedly said that he had come out of his house earlier that day and had seen the dogs chasing his neighbor's rabbit and chickens. He called his mother and told her to tell his neighbor about what had happened, the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, Sanders said he went back into his house, and when he came back out, the dogs were still chasing the animals. He told the PCSO deputy that he got his .22-caliber rifle and went over to his neighbor's house.
When the PCSO deputy asked Sanders why he shot the German shepherd when it was running away from him, he said that it was chasing a chicken after he shot the first chicken, so he "had no choice but to shoot it, too," the affidavit stated.