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Dog shot and killed amid neighbors’ quarrel

Michael Caswell sits with one of his dogs in a  rental house in Milan, a cluster of homes in north Spokane County, on Sunday.  Another dog, which Caswell was caring for while a friend was looking for housing,  was fatally shot Friday, allegedly by a neighbor. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Michael Caswell sits with one of his dogs in a rental house in Milan, a cluster of homes in north Spokane County, on Sunday. Another dog, which Caswell was caring for while a friend was looking for housing, was fatally shot Friday, allegedly by a neighbor. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

With each step making a distinct crunch, Michael Caswell walked through the snow to the spot where his dog, a boxer named Maggie, was shot and killed.

“Right there,” he said Sunday, pointing to a divot in the driveway of his rural home in Milan, north of Chattaroy. “There was blood right there where she was laying.”

The dog escaped from Caswell’s fenced-in front yard on Friday. Caswell said the first sign of any problem was the sound of gunfire.

“I knew my dog was getting shot,” the 43-year-old said. “I didn’t want to go back out there while he was shooting in my general direction so I waited.”

The alleged shooter is a neighbor, who reportedly shot at it six times with a rifle. The dog was discovered soon after in a pool of blood, six spent shell casings about 20 feet away in Caswell’s driveway.

The man told Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies and Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) officers that he shot the dog because it threatened to harm his ex-wife’s daughter and Chihuahua. He said he’s had problems with the boxer in the past and has become afraid of it.

Caswell and his family aren’t buying it. Even though Maggie was only at their home for about three months, they said the dog was never aggressive towards people. And the most it would do when it saw other animals was bark.

They also contend the neighbor didn’t see the dog attack or threaten anyone, and that he took his time between each shot before the dog was dead. And he did it right in front of the fence’s gate where Maggie would usually sit, waiting to be let back in.

The neighbor could not be reached for comment for this story.

Deputy Mark Gregory, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said officers cited the neighbor for killing a pet animal.

Gregory said it’s normal for SCRAPS to handle these types of calls, but this one was referred to sheriff’s deputies because there were firearms involved.

“The problem is, that (the neighbor) was only told about the dog harassing or chasing this other dog,” Gregory said. “He went looking for the dog and ended up shooting the dog not on his property. And that’s why he was issued the citation for that.”

Caswell, who said he has multiple sclerosis and shares the home with his girlfriend, daughter, two dogs, a rabbit and three salamanders, just hopes law enforcement will treat this case with the earnestness they think it deserves.

“That dog wouldn’t hurt anybody,” Caswell said in his home Sunday.


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