Pet Owner Reacts to Sentence of the Man who Killed his Dog

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- In a retrial, a judge found former Harrisonburg Police Officer Russell Metcalf guilty once again of animal cruelty, but he did drop one charge that Metcalf was convicted of in his first trial.

The judge said on Wednesday that Metcalf is not guilty of recklessly using a gun when he shot and killed a dog last spring. The judge did say that it wasn't necessary for Metcalf to shoot the dog and that's why Metcalf is still guilty of animal cruelty.

Bryan Ware, the dog's owner, said he was upset when he found Sadie, his dog, shot to death outside his home last April.

"It's very upsetting for someone to take something away from you like that. That's uncalled for,” said Ware.

Ware described what Sadie was like.

"Sadie was a lovable, black and white Border Collie, about eight months old. She was very playful. She was just like any other Border Collie. When you would speak to her, she would kind of just crouch down like they normally do. She was very obedient."

Former Harrisonburg Police Officer Russell Metcalf shot Sadie as he was riding his bike past Ware's house. Metcalf said he did it because he was afraid the dog would bite him.

Ware said he was disappointed when the judge dropped the reckless use of a gun charge against Metcalf.

"Anytime you discharge a firearm like that in a neighborhood with homes and human life, that's reckless. That's being reckless."

Ware said he was glad the judge still holds Metcalf accountable for killing Sadie by finding him guilty of animal cruelty.

"Hopefully this will be a message for him and some others that you can't just up and do what you want to do like that. Take other people's feelings and personal properties into consideration."

The judge said the defense showed Metcalf's extensive experience in gun use and that was why the judge said his shooting the dog wasn't reckless because he knew what he was doing.

Metcalf's lawyer said he was pleased the judge dropped that charge, but he was still disappointed that Metcalf was found guilty of animal cruelty.

Metcalf now has to pay an $800 fine for his sentence.

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