A 74-year-old Caroline County man has been charged with two felony offenses in connection with an incident last week in which he is accused of shooting a neighbor’s dog that had wandered onto his property, authorities said.
William Henry Hinton of Ruther Glen is charged with felony animal cruelty, felony destruction of property and a misdemeanor charge of recklessly discharging a firearm in a residential area.
Sheriff Tony Lippa said the incident took place May 6 on Abby Drive in the Lake Land ‘Or subdivision. Lippa said the dog was on Hinton’s property when it was shot, but was not posing a threat to anyone at the time.
Lippa declined to discuss any other details regarding the case, such as whether there had been previous incidents involving the dog or the neighbors. The gun used in the shooting has been seized, authorities said.
After being shot, the dog named Minnie was taken to the Virginia Veterinary Centers in Fredericksburg and then to a clinic in southern Stafford County, where her severely damaged front leg was amputated. Lippa said the dog is now at home recovering with her family.
A new Virginia law took effect last year that increased the penalty for certain animal abuse from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony, which carries a possible five-year prison term.
It is at least the second time Caroline authorities have filed felony charges in connection with a dog shooting. Another county man was accused in November of killing a hunting dog that came onto his property; that case is still pending in Caroline Circuit Court.
The investigation into Minnie’s shooting is continuing, Lippa said.