Family says neighbor shot dog for being too loud

Family says neighbor shot dog for being too loud »Play Video
AUBURN - A woman has been charged with first-degree animal cruelty in connection with the July 4 shooting death of her neighbor's 7-month-old puppy.

Denise Leahy, 46, was charged Thursday in King County Superior Court.

According to court documents and police reports, Leahy's neighbor, Tom Keeley returned home on the afternoon July 4 to find Taz, his bull mastiff pup, laying dead in her yard soaked in blood.

"As I got up to the gate, I saw him laid out," Tom Keeley said. "It was shock it was anger it was frustration all rolled up into on.e"

He rushed the puppy to Sumner Veterinary Hospital, where a necropsy was completed. Veterinarians determined the puppy had been killed by a small caliber bullet fired into its left side.

The owners called 911, sparking a police investigation of the shooting, which had taken place inside a fenced area in the yard of the owners' home in the 5200 block of 55th Street Southeast.

Since then, they've been afraid to venture outside.

"We've, in essence, been prisoners in our own home," Tom Keeley said. "I can't let my kids out in my own front yard. I've got five acres and I can't let my kids out in front yard because I'm afraid of what might happen.

"I mean, it was a puppy," he added. "How do you hurt a puppy?"

Officers spoke with a neighbor who described hearing a loud explosion earlier that day that he assumed was a firework, since it was Independence Day.

The neighbor said he also saw Taz running frantically in the large yard where he was fenced in, but he told officers he assumed the puppy was simply bothered by the fireworks.

According to police reports, Leahy later told a friend that she'd shot the puppy because it was "barking and being annoying" and because her husband "does not like noise." That friend later relayed that conversation to police.

Meanwhile, another neighbor found a .22 caliber shell casing in the roadway near where the dog was shot.

When police interviewed Leahy later, she denied owning a .22 caliber rifle. But after a search warrant was issued, officers found .22 caliber ammunition in her home.

Leahy was arrested July 31 at her home and briefly jailed. She is free on $50,000 bond and scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 20.