Pennsylvania man charged with killing neighbor’s dogs, and owner cited


MIDDLEBURY CENTER, Pa. (WETM) – A Pennsylvania man who admitted to shooting two of his neighbor’s dogs has been charged with two third-degree felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, and the dogs’ owner has been cited.

Jason Stefanowicz, who was arrested Nov. 20, said the dogs were harassing his livestock deer.

On the same day as the arrest, state police said the dogs’ owner, Tanya Smith, had been cited for allowing her dogs to run free.

Police said on Sept. 27, Stefanowicz’s wife reported that her husband had shot two German shepherds in their front yard. When police interviewed Stefanowicz, he told them he saw the dogs harassing the deer, causing them to injure themselves inside a fence enclosure.

One of the deer was said to be limping, and another was caught in the fence wire. Police said Stefanowicz admitted to using a .22-250-caliber rifle to shoot each dog once.

Police said the dogs were found dead 4-15 feet from the deer enclosure and that the fence was damaged. One of the deer was reported to have a bloody nose.

The criminal complaint and affidavit can be found below:

Smith, who was notified by police that her dogs had been shot after leaving her property, said Stefanowicz should have contacted her before shooting the dogs. She also said she was not notified by police of the citation.

“I don’t know how we’re gonna live with this,” Smith said. “The only thing I can do is try and get justice. And I don’t know who I have to talk to or how many people I have to talk to, I’m gonna push this issue.”

Police said Smith “failed to keep said dog at all times confined within the premises of the owner and/or firmly secure by means of a collar or chain and other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises of which it is secured and/or under the reasonable control of some person, or when engaged in lawful hunting, exhibition, or viold training, in violation of Sections 305 and 903 of the Dog Law, 3 P.S. 460-305 and 903.”

Smith’s citation can be found below:

According to the legal encyclopedia NOLO, it is legal to shoot dogs when they are harassing livestock, and in the case of it happening, there are two basic rules:

  • The livestock owners may legally kill dogs, and they will not be liable if the dog owners sue them.
  • Dog owners are financially responsible for the damage their dogs’ cause.

Stefanowicz is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in Tioga County on Dec. 17.

A third-degree felony charge in Pennsylvania can be punishable to three and a half to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

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