Eureka man accused of shooting dog

Editor | July 29, 2020 7:59 AM

A Eureka man accused of shooting and killing a dog in June pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated animal cruelty and criminal endangerment July 20.

The felony charges, filed in Lincoln County District Court, stem from a June 28 shooting. Authorities began investigating Terry R. Blanton, 71, after Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robert Salyer responded to Airport Road for a report of an injured dog.

An area resident had phoned authorities about 6:20 p.m., telling them he was taking a dog, suffering from a gunshot wound, to a veterinarian. Salyer intercepted the man on Airport Road and discovered the dog had since died.

The resident recalled seeing the dog earlier in the day. It wandered over to his house and appeared very friendly, the man told Salyer.

He shooed the dog away and watched it wander over to Blanton’s property, court documents said. Blanton was mowing his lawn at the time.

A short time later, the dog returned, bleeding from a gunshot wound to its chest, court documents said.

After returning the animal’s body to its owner, per her request, Salyer met with Blanton. According to Salyer’s account, Blanton admitted to shooting in the air to scare off the dog.

He later admitted to shooting three times in the direction of the animal, Salyer wrote.

“[Blanton] said the dog just wouldn’t leave his property and didn’t have a collar, which is why he shot at it,” Salyer wrote.

After instructing Blanton to show him the path of the bullets, Sayler realized the Eureka resident had fired toward a neighbor’s home. The house was less than 100 yards away and lacked “trees or brush to stop a stray or ricochet bullet from entering their house,” he wrote.

Blanton is scheduled for an omnibus hearing on Sept. 28 with a pretrial conference slated for Nov. 2. Were his case to go to trial, it is scheduled to start Dec. 15.

Aggravated animal cruelty carries a maximum punishment of up to two years imprisonment and fine of $2,500. Criminal endangerment is punishable by up to 10 years behind bars and a $50,000 fine.