A Creston man is facing animal cruelty charges after he was accused of shooting and killing a neighbor’s prized dog.
According to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s reports, the Murray family reported their dog’s death in August, but now the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is charging the suspect, Stephen Almond, with a misdemeanor in the case.
The Murrays say their dog, Snoop, was a great protector who would look out for coyotes on their 45-acre piece of land.
“He was definitely a very big family member of mine. He was a very good companion,” said Maddy Murray.
The family’s neighbors share a fence with Almond and have a view of a sniper tower in his yard. They say Almond shot Snoop from the tower when the dog crossed into Almond’s property.
Almond is facing misdemeanor charges for cruelty to an animal, accused of killing the beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback.
The Murray family says Snoop would guard a perimeter around their property and their neighbors’, and they say they didn’t realize how close Almond’s property was.
“Snoop had permission to be out on that property, but where he was shot on the Almond property, we thought that was also the (neighbor’s) property, so we were unaware that this hazard was here,” said Dave Murray. “We could have trained him to never cross that property, but that wasn’t an issue for us because we had permission to what we thought was on the neighbor’s property.”
“He was always a presence there, and our neighbors, they loved him, so it was not weird for him because it was part of his backyard,” said Maddy.
The District Attorney can file misdemeanor or felony charges for such crimes, taking into consideration the nature of the alleged crime, the suspect’s criminal history, and other case law.
The D.A’s office is accusing Almond of violating Penal Code section 597(a), a misdemeanor for “unlawfully, maliciously and intentionally killing an animal.”
However, other violations were considered.
In an email statement, the D.A. said, “In the instant case, although the allegations are of a very serious nature, significant consideration was given to Penal Code section 600.5(a), and other similar statutes, specifically relating to dogs.”
KSBY reached out to Almond, but he declined to comment.
If convicted, Almond faces up to one year in jail, a $20,000 fine, and restitution fees.
Almond is expected to appear in court for his arraignment on January 8, 2019.
The Murray family says they are moving because it is too painful of a reminder to stay in their current home.