Scottsville Man Facing Felony Charges in Death of Hunting Dog
Tuesday night a hunting dog is dead, a man is facing felony charges and Albemarle County police say it all could have been prevented. The dog's owner, Eddie Spencer, says his beagle, Bob, was shot after he strayed off the land they were hunting on.
Spencer says Bob didn't have a bad bone in his body, but Tuesday night that lifeless body has been sent to the state lab for a necropsy while police launch an investigation.
"Some dogs are hard to replace, especially the good ones," Spencer said.
Spencer and others were hunting last Thursday for deer on 10,000 acres of land in southern Albemarle County. At the end of the day, around 4:30 p.m., the group went to retrieve any stray dogs, including Bob. The hunters say Bob strayed onto 45-year-old Michael Mullins' property.
"We don't want them on their property any more than they do," said Spencer.
The hunters track every dog through GPS units located on each dog's collar. Bob's signal was strong along the 4700 block of Eyeland Drive, but then the signal disappeared.
Woodridge Sportsman Club President Glenn Spradlin said, "We was right there when the dog got killed. We was turning around when he shot the dog."
Police say Mullins killed the 3-year-old beagle. Mullins is now facing charges including felony larceny of a dog, larceny of a tracking collar, removing an electric dog collar, and animal cruelty.
"There's some tension between landowners and hunters," said Albemarle County Police Spokesperson Carter Johnson.
To break that tension, Albemarle County police held an animal summit on November 12. Hunters involved in Thursday's incident were at the summit, but say more people need to understand the law.
Spencer said, "I hope he's found guilty for, not on my sake, but for the whole community to understand that it's illegal to fool with a hunter's dogs."
Hunting dogs are not bound by Albemarle County's leash law as long as they are on a bona fide hunt. Hunters are also allowed to go onto a person's property to retrieve their dog if the dog strays.
The hunters we talked with even carry a yellow card with them. It's a code of ethics, as well as what the law says.
Editor's Note: Name of the Sportsman Club has been corrected to Woodridge Sportsman Club.