No charges for man who shot two German Shepherds in Bassett

Henry County Dogs Shot-Tank and Banjo (L-R)
Henry County Dogs Shot-Tank and Banjo (L-R)(Jordan Scott)
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 10:34 PM EST
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BASSETT, Va. (WDBJ) - A family in Bassett was left heartbroken this Christmas when they learned their two German Shephards had escaped their yard and were shot on someone else’s property. The Henry County commonwealth’s attorney will not press charges against a man who shot the dogs.

One of the dogs survived, and his owners are looking for answers.

Jordan Scott says Tank and Banjo had never shown signs of aggression toward other animals or the family’s two young children.

“I’m still trying to figure out what our rights are,” says Scott, holding onto Tank’s leash.

Scott says Tank and Banjo escaped their yard the morning of the 23rd.

“Our dogs were not on our property; we understand that was our fault. We take full responsibility for that,” says Scott.

That afternoon, they found out another man had called animal control to pick up their pets, but only one of them was alive.

“We got the first call from an officer, and we were told they were attacking a man’s cat. We had questions; was the cat injured, was the cat killed?” recalls Scott. “We know our dogs. Were they chasing a cat? Maybe, but were they attacking a cat? Very doubtful. We have children, we have stray cats all over the place and they’ve never attacked them”

Banjo was killed. His body was taken to the pound. Tank sustained a bullet wound in his front left paw.

“Then we got a call Tuesday morning that said there was nothing more that they could do. That they were on his property and within five feet of his cat,” says Scott, who is still unsettled by the lack of evidence of any injuries to the cat, as well as the gray area in Virginia law.

“For the livestock code to be so black and white, I hate that the companion code isn’t,” says Scott ”You can go up and down this road, and at least every other house has a pet of some kind. So why are there not more laws protecting them?”

The family believes the number of shots toward their dogs was an excessive misuse of a firearm, and are hoping to continue their battle in civil court.

“We’re not suing to get this big crazy amount of money, but when you do something wrong, you need to be held accountable for it, and I don’t think that’s being done at all,” adds Scott.

Scott offered the money for an autopsy to be done on Banjo’s body, but Animal Control declined her request while the body remains in their custody.

The commonwealth’s attorney says a thorough investigation has been done, but unless new evidence emerges, they don’t have a criminal case against the man who shot the dogs. In order for it to be an animal cruelty case, the commonwealth’s attorney says the dogs would have had to be farther away, not threatening to the cat owner’s animal.

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