GREENVILLE, Mich. (March 27, 2014) – 86-year-old Harry German faces criminal charges. He’s accused of shooting and killing his neighbor’s dog. Shocking and disturbing news to the family that spent a week searching for their 7-year-old bullmastiff named ‘Misha’.
It was in the middle of a winter snow storm when German saw what he said was a familiar sight. He said two of his neighbor’s dogs were running through his backyard scaring wildlife.
“They took right after those turkeys,” said German. “Them turkeys went in all directions.”
He said he grabbed his gun and went into his backyard.
“I raised a gun to my shoulder,” he said. “I shot two foot behind the back dog. I know where I am shooting believe me. Snow flew. I know where the bullet went.”
The dogs ran away at first but then he said they came back.
“I wanted to scare them some more so I took the gun about waist high and I pulled the trigger. That’s when it happened I guess,” said German. “I’m not sure. Well, I know I didn’t aim at it but I’m not sure what happened. I don’t know why the dog died to be honest with you.”
Misha was killed.
“It looked like it had a heart attack and that made me suspicious after I thought about it more… or it (the bullet) ricocheted off a tree. I don’t know, but I know I didn’t aim at it,” he said.
Misha’s home was just 1/4 mile down the road and her owners said they were looking for her.
German said after the shooting, “I buried it in the snow. I didn’t want it to lay there. I intended to keep it until the snow went down.”
Amber Rood, the dog’s owner, admits they are at fault for not keeping better tabs on their dog. After Misha went missing, Rood had been canvassing the neighborhood with flyers and used FOX 17’s Facebook page to share her missing poster.
The day after the shooting, German said his neighbor stopped by with a flyer.
German said he took the flyer and then replied, “If you take care of your dogs properly your dogs are not going to go missing. So he turned around and left.”
I said, “Why didn’t you explain to him (his neighbor) what happened?”
To which he replied, “You don’t know what I had… might be disturbed with him and his wife for the way they treat their animals.”
German said his grandson eventually brought the dog back to its owner. Rood tells us the dog had a bullet wound to the neck. A couple days later, German said an officer with the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office stopped by and filed a criminal complaint against him.
On Thursday, March 27, the prosecutor filed misdemeanor charges against German including Malicious Destruction of Personal Property, Reckless Use of a Firearm, and Shooting From a Safety Zone.
Although German is not convinced he struck the dog when he shot, he said he’s covered under the law if he did shoot and kill the dog. He cited the Montcalm County Dog Enforcement Ordinance which reads in part; ‘Any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, worrying or wounding any animals or attacking persons, and there shall be no liability on such person in damages or otherwise, for such killing.’ German said he plans to use that defense in court.
I asked him, “Did you think there was a threat at all when you saw these dogs chasing?”
“Well why not,” he replied. “They were wild. They were running here, there and everywhere, trying to find something to chew on.”
Misha went missing in the area of Belding and Greenville during a winter snow storm. The owners’ posted a plea for help on Facebook. FOX 17 re-posted the message to generate any leads. There were more than 3,600 page shares on Facebook.
Misha’s owner gave FOX 17 the following statement:
I would like to thank you for posting our search for our missing dog Misha on your Fox 17 Facebook page. As you might know if you are following the posts we found out last week Friday that our neighbor who lives approximately 200 yards from our house actually shot and killed Misha the same day she came up missing. For 7 days we went searching for her and he knew it and never did he contact us to let us know what he did. We have decided to press charges and now it is in the prosecuting attorneys hands as to whether or not she will proceed with the case. Misha was left lying in a bank of snow in his backyard for 7 days. If you would like to check out a Facebook page that supporters have created please do so it is called justice for Misha. We had received a tip last Friday a at approximately 5:30 p.m. That gunshots were heard the week previous. After speaking with others in the neighborhood we knew we must call the authorities. The man did admit to what he had done. Thank you.