Kingsland man accused of shooting neighbor's dog in face

Kenneth Dwight Cooper charged with aggravated animal cruelty

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

KINGSLAND, Ga. - A Kingsland man faces one count of aggravated animal cruelty after police said he shot his neighbor’s dog in the face.

Kenneth Dwight Cooper was arrested Tuesday and then released on $3,500 bond.

According to a police report obtained by News4Jax, officers investigated an altercation at a home on Woodbridge Road in October in which a dog was shot.

Officers said Cooper told them that his neighbor’s dog was being aggressive and sticking her head through a hole in the fence while barking at his 11- and 4-year-old children. 

According to Cooper, his two children were scared and ran inside to get him and his wife. Cooper told police he went outside and the dog began barking and growling while it stayed in its yard at the fence.

Cooper told officers that he was standing 7 feet from the fence when he pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and fired a round at the neighbor’s dog, which was still in its own yard, according to the police report.

During questioning, officers said Cooper admitted that the dog never came through the hole in the fence nor did it attack him or his children. But Cooper said the dog had been the subject of an ongoing dispute between him and his neighbor. He said he had asked the dog’s owner to keep the fence propped up until it could be repaired, but that his neighbor did not do it.

When officers went next door, they found the 5-year-old pit bull, named Sapphire, bleeding from her mouth and most of her teeth missing. The dog was taken to a veterinarian, where it was treated and is recovering.

5-year-old Sapphire: Shot but recovering

Sapphire's owner told police she did have the fence propped up, but that Cooper knocked it down to shoot her dog. 

At the time of the initial investigation, Cooper was only cited for illegally discharging a firearm within city limits. After the case was turned over to Camden County Animal Control, it found enough evidence to charge Cooper with animal cruelty.

News4Jax went to Cooper's home on Thursday, but his wife said he wasn't home.

Sapphire's owner declined to comment because the case is going to court. 

There are no reports that the dog ever attacked anyone. 

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