Vermont Animal Cruelty Task Force Home
* About Us Animal Cruelty Manual Search Contact Home
Animal Cruelty News & Announcements

Police Officer's Animal Cruelty Trial Begins

Posted on Nov 17, 2009 - 7:10 AM

Police Officer's Animal Cruelty Trial Begins

Hyde Park, Vermont - November 16, 2009

Was it animal cruelty or protecting a pet? That's what a Lamoille County jury will have to decide in the case of an Essex Police officer who is accused of shooting and killing his neighbor's dog.

Essex Police officer Michael Wootton was off-duty when he claims he was forced to shoot his neighbor's large dog fearing it was about to kill his family's small dog. But the dead animal's owners say Wootton did not have to kill their beloved pet so it was a crime.

"Hoch was laying down on the ground, and my daughter was laying on him, and also my friend Shawn were on him and Hooch was still alive at that time," said the dog's owner Mindy Maskell.

"No he never physically tried to get Yoda," said Shawn Hickock who witnessed the shooting.

Hickock testified that Wootton made no attempt to break up the fight before he got a gun, returned, and shot Hooch in the stomach.

"I was walking toward him looking at the scenario of him pointing the gun at Hooch and asking him not to shoot repeatedly," said Hickock.

Wootton's first witness was his wife Jackie. She told the jury that Hooch had terrified the neighborhood since he arrived at the Rogers home four years ago.

"My children were playing outside, and I was outside as well, and he started to growl and hair stood up on his neck. This was quite concerning to me cause my children were outside," she said.

Despite her concerns, on cross-examination, Mrs. Wootton testified that she never notified authorities about her fears and concerns about Hooch.

Tuesday, other neighbors are reportedly also going to testify about their fears about Hooch. We do not know if Officer Wootton will take the stand before the case goes to the jury.

Printer-Friendly Version
Learn how to Make a Donation

About Us | Animal Cruelty | Manual | Search | Contact | Site Map | Home

Website development by Vitruvian Arts