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Man charged with shooting neighbor's dog

September 03, 2009
STURBRIDGE — A Sturbridge man's anger allegedly got the best of him in July when he lashed out at a neighbor's dog.

Willam R. Galonek, 66, of 145 Main St., is charged with one count of animal cruelty after he allegedly shot his neighbor's pet on two separate occasions, according to Dudley District Court records. He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 18.

If convicted, Galonek faces between two and half to five years in prison, or up to $2,500 in fines.

The charges stem from two days in early July. Lewis and Brenda Blair were playing in their Shepherd Road home yard on Sunday, Aug. 2 with their two young grand children when all the sudden they heard "a soft gun shot" and saw Galonek standing nearby, according to Sturbridge Police Officer John Paciorek's report. The group yelled at Galonek after the dog started crying. The next day, Lewis Blair confronted Galonek who "immediately admitted to shooting the dog with the BB, due to the dog continuously barking," according to Paciorek's report. Galonek repeated the admission to police and "was extremely apologetic," according to the report.

Galonek had also allegedly shot the dog three weeks prior to the August incident, Lewis Blair told police. The Blairs arrived home that night and found two "slices" on their dog's hind quarters, which left him unable to walk for two days.

After the August incident, police searched Galonek's home for firearms but found none because they had all been "transferred to his son," according to the report. Galonek no longer has a license to carry a weapon or possess one.

Neither Galonek nor the Blairs could be reached for comment. Sturbridge Police Sgt. Micahel Cloutier, one of the agency's spokesmen, could not be reached as well.

While the dog suffered injuries to hind quarters, BB pellets can cause serious injuries and even death, according to a former Worcester Animal Rescue League animal abuse investigator.

"Some of them can actually go right through a two-by-four. If it can go through a two-by-four, it can [go] through the skull of a dog. That could absolutely kill a dog," said Joseph L. Cadrin.

A Maryland dog's death at the hands of a man who was convicted of shooting him with a BB gun spurred its owners to sue for damages from the emotional stress of losing their pooch. Denis and Sarah Scheele's dog, Shawodw, all of Annapolis, Md. wandered onto the property of Lewis Dustin, during a vacation to Vermont. Dustin shot Shadow with a pellet gun piercing the dog's heart and killing him, according to the CBS News Web site. A judge dismissed the couple's suit because a dog is considered property.

Despite the emotional attachment many people have with their dogs, they unfortunately are the most frequent victims of animal cruelty, according to the Humane Society. Of the 1,880 cases in 2007 reported in the media, 1,212 were for dogs. Cats were involved in 337 of the cases.

Notably, pitbulls are more frequently becoming cruelty victims, according to the Society. In 2007, they represented 25 percent of the total canine cruelty cases, up from 13 percent in 2000 and 2001, according to the Society.

To better compile statistics for cruelty cases, a proposed bill before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee would require the National Incident Based Reporting System, Federal Bureau of Investigation's crime statistics system and another crime tracking program to list cruelty as a separate offense.

Ryan Grannan-Doll can be reached by phone at (508) 909-4050, or by e-mail rgrand@stonebridgepress.com.

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