Thursday, December 31, 2015

Whitfield County GA District Attorney Bert Poston believes it's reasonable to shoot a dog in the face and then leave it to die

GEORGIA -- A northwest Georgia man who hoped that justice would prevail after the cruel shooting of the dog he rescued and now cares for is baffled that the district attorney has dismissed the charge against the shooter.

“I’m just not happy with what has been going on,” James Sexton said. “I just don’t feel like justice has been done for this little dog.”

Prosecutors say Charles Anthony Bennett, 55, of Dalton, Georgia, who shot a terrier mix dog in the face in August was "legally justified." 

But Sexton, who reported the shooting and rescued the dog, just can’t understand how animal cruelty charges were dismissed against the shooter.

District Attorney Bert Poston said a review of the case found that Bennett’s actions were legal.

Poston said Bennett fully cooperated with law enforcement officials and voluntarily came and talked to prosecutors without an attorney and provided documentation of his history with the dog.

"(The) facts are undisputed that Mr. Bennett took the dog in as a stray some months before the incident and took care of it, including caring for some medical conditions it had at the time," Poston said. "He had numerous behavioral problems with the dog including significant destruction of property and made efforts to find a more appropriate home for the animal without success. He ultimately decided that he would either have to put the dog down or release it back as a stray and decided the former option was more appropriate."

At 55 years of age, Mr. Bennett knows that there are these places called "animal shelters" and that at these "animal shelters", guess what? They take in animals you don't want anymore! Wow, what a concept? Did he even bother to call any of them? 

A simple search on Google shows guess what? An animal shelter right in Dalton, Georgia where this idiot lives! The Humane Society of Northwest Georgia! Oh and what else did I find right in Dalton, Georgia but the Whitfield County Animal Control! Some towns don't have any shelter - this place has two and yet Mr. Bennett plays dumb like he didn't know...

Does the DA want to now want to give some excuse about why this idiot felt his only options were to shoot the dog or turn it loose??!

Poston also said Bennett took the dog out "with the intention of humanely putting the dog down and then returning it to his property for burial."

“Unfortunately, a relative of Mr. Bennett’s had borrowed his revolver and had replaced the ammunition with ‘rat shot’ and had returned it loaded with that ammunition,” Poston said. “Mr. Bennett was not aware that the ammunition had been changed until he pulled the trigger, at which point he immediately realized what had happened but was unable to recapture the dog, which understandably ran off after being shot.”

The problem with this argument is that Bennett did NOT go look for the dog after he shot it in the face and gosh! realized he hadn't killed the dog. It was his responsibility to look for the dog. And he didn't. He got in his car and drove away!!!!

Based on a review of the evidence, Poston said, Bennett lacked “any criminal malice which is defined in the relevant statute as ‘(a)n actual intent … to cause the particular harm produced without justification or excuse,’ or ‘(t)he wanton and willful doing of an act with an awareness of a plain and strong likelihood that a particular harm may result.’”


MICHIGAN - Christopher Scott was charged with felony animal
cruelty after shooting his dog in the face with a crossbow to
kill her rather than take her to a local shelter to surrender her

But let's get back to Angel's story:

Back in August, Sexton and his wife were walking their three dogs on a forestry road about 20 minutes south of Dalton, Georgia. As they returned to their car, they heard gunshots.

When they began to drive away, they saw a small dog walking in the road, its face bloodied. They followed a car they believed had put the dog out and called 911.

A sheriff’s deputy responded and pulled the car over. Bennett was arrested and charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

The Sextons returned to the scene of the shooting, picked up the dog and took it to a veterinarian’s office.

Sexton says the dog, named Angel, has since recovered physically.

“She’s doing as well as can be expected,” he said. “We are giving her a lot of love and attention. She didn’t lose the eye (where she was shot). The last time we had her at the vet’s office they said she might actually be able to see some shadows out of the eye.”

But while Angel’s physical wounds have healed, Sexton says she still shows signs of trauma.

“About a month after we got her, I was doing some work on my car, and I grabbed something to prop the hood open. When she saw me grab that stick, she ran inside and cowered down,” he said.

That’s why, he said, he was upset to learn that prosecutors had dropped the charge against Bennett.

Poston said Bennett offered to pay for the dog’s veterinary bills and that money has been collected and will be forwarded to Sexton.

But Sexton says he isn’t interested in the money.

“That doesn’t satisfy me. I want justice for this little dog. I want something to be done to show people they can’t treat animals this way,” he said.

Bennett could not be reached for comment.

What is the legal definition of animal cruelty in Georgia?
Cruelty to Animals (misdemeanor charge): A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he/she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect.  O.C.G.A. §16-12-4

He caused unjustifiable pain by his act of shooting the little dog in the face. A reasonable person has knowledge of animal shelters and that these shelters take unwanted animals. Ergo, he willfully neglected to treat the animal in a humane manner by taking it to a shelter.

Aggravated Cruelty to Animals (felony charge): A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by rendering a part of such animal's body useless or by seriously disfiguring such animal… [paraphrased] except for conduct otherwise permitted under state or federal law.  O.C.G.A. §16-12-4

He knowingly caused physical harm by shooting the dog in the face, failing to kill it and failing to "finish it off" in order to minimize the amount of trauma to the animal. Instead, after shooting it in the face, he got in his car and drove off.

Besides that, who shoots an animal IN THE FACE to kill it???

(Glasgow Daily Times - Dec 30, 2015)


  1. I think he's a piece of s. That's like hurting a baby.he might not be punished now but he will be.

  2. We are the parents os this sweet little baby and she did not deserve what happened to her.She deserved justice for the suffering she had to endure....Please follow her story on Facebook on her page "Angel's voice"...thank you to whoever made this article because you feel the same way about this as we do.

    1. If you can find anyone in the DA's Office who cares about prosecuting animal crimes, let them know about a case in Michigan - Christopher Scott shot his dog Gemma in the head with a crossbow. Gemma, in horrific pain after being shot in the face, ran off. Scott didn't bother to look for her, figuring she'd die anyway (Sound familiar?). They charged him with FELONY ANIMAL CRUELTY. At the hearing, Judge John Conover said pets today are revered animals and the days of euthanizing a dog “Old Yeller” style behind the barn “are long, long gone.”