Rise in lethal shootings of dogs raises concerns among pet owners and the general public

Anti-Cruelty Society Increases Efforts to Educate After Dogs Shot in Northwest Indiana and DuPage County

The shooting of a beloved dog earlier this year on the outskirts of DuPage County publicly sparked outcry.

Now another case has emerged with similar consequences.

Pamela Harbison tells WGN Investigates that her 17-pound Terrier mix named Bentley was shot and killed last summer in northwest Indiana. She does not think it was justified.

In a police report, the neighbor told police he was walking his dog when Bentley ran up to his property. He “fired his weapon into the ground with the intent to intimidate Bentley and accidentally shot him.” But because the dog was technically on his property, there was no charge.

But the incident raises questions about why these shootings are on the rise, and the emotional toll it takes on the affected pet owners.

“It’s happening too much,” said Janet Kortum, Harbison’s daughter. “It’s not fair to these poor dog owners. An animal is part of your family.”

Earlier this year, another case made headlines when a man for a town clerk in the village of Wayne shot and killed a dog because it was allegedly threatening. No charges were filed in that case either.

The Anti-Cruelty Society has seen an increase in these incidents and has stepped up training efforts in hopes of reducing incidents.

“I think we will continue to see an increase in violence against animals because of the disruptions experienced during the pandemic,” said Darlene Duggan of the Anti-Cruelty Society.

Harbison has filed a civil lawsuit against his dog’s killer.

The case is pending. He could not be reached for comment.

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