clinton county, ohio
A stray dog was reportedly shot and then beaten to death by a Port William man on Monday morning after the dog wandered onto his property, officers said.
46-year-old Donald Wical Jr., 821 Port William Rd., told the Clinton County Sheriff’s office that the dog had tried to bite his own dog which was tied-up on his property. Wical reportedly shot at the dog with a pellet gun, missed, and then used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot the dog again, officers said.
“[Wical] stated he didn’t want to see the dog suffer so he went outside and hit the dog in the head with a baseball bat,” wrote Deputy Chris Kirk in an incident report.
Wical was charged with a felony count of possessing weapons while under disability, Kirk said.
The shooting left Wical’s neighbors stunned, some of whom had been caring for the collar-less dog while they looked for a new home for it, said Rex Doak, Clinton County Dog Warden.
“We received a call last week from a woman who was debating keeping the dog,” Doak said. “When the dog wandered on to [Wical’s] property, he took the matter into his own hands.”
Ohio law states that a homeowner can kill a dog if it is “chasing or approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack,” or if the dog is threatening to destroy or damage property. Under the law, pets are considered personal property.
Doak said it is “pretty rare” for a homeowner to kill a dog that trespasses onto his property, and, in most cases, the law falls on the side of the property owner.
“Bottom line, there was nothing we could do about it,” Doak said.
Attempts to contact Wical by phone were not returned Thursday night, and a message left on a home answering machine went unanswered.
One of Wical’s neighbors, who asked to remain anonymous, posted photographs of the dog on the social networking site Facebook with hopes of alerting the dog’s owner or finding it a new home. A note attached to the photos reads: “Please take a look at the pictures I’ve attached - this is (we believe) a Boxer or Boxer Mix (tail has not been “docked”) who has decided that our house is a great place to hang out. She’s beautiful and very well behaved…Please help us find her a family.”
An hour later, another post reads: “I am sorry the dog is gone - our next door neighbor just shot her and beat her to death.”
According to the sheriff’s report, Wical loaded the dead dog into his truck and dropped it off along New Burlington Road. After questioning by police, Wical reportedly asked if he could return to the site where he dumped the dog to retrieve it and bury it in his yard. Neither neighbors nor sheriff’s deputies could confirm if Wical did return to retrieve the dog.
With a prior conviction for felonious assault, both of Wical’s guns were confiscated by deputies, and Kirk said charges have been filed with the Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.