The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 3, 2013

Man pleads guilty to shooting dog with BB

Kathy Mellott

EBENSBURG — A Nanty Glo man charged with shooting a neighbor’s dog with a BB gun because he feared for the welfare of his young children avoided a trial Wednesday and entered a guilty plea to two summary offenses.

William Joseph Boring, 29, of the 100 block of Rowe Street, pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and use of an air rifle or similar device.

He was immediately sentenced to 180 days probation, ordered to pay fines and costs of $150 and restitution of $180 to the Ebensburg Animal Hospital.

Through his attorney, Robert Davis Gleason, Boring said the dog, a 21/2-year-old neutered male golden retriever/yellow lab mix, repeatedly ran into his yard, frightening his children, ages 2 and 3.

He called Nanty Glo police, who warned the dog’s owner to keep it under control.

But Boring took things into his own hands on June 4, when he shot the dog.

The BB went into the dog’s right eye, requiring surgery at the Ebensburg Animal Hospital and resulted in 40 percent vision loss in that eye, according to court testimony.

A point of conflict is where the dog, named Butterball, was located at the time of the shooting. The owner says it was on its own porch. Boring says it was in his yard.

Boring initially faced charges that included making a false report to police, because Nanty Glo authorities said he shot the dog on the owner’s porch and claimed it was running loose.

Butterball has since been turned over to a new owner, and the neighbor who lived next to Boring has moved, according to Assistant District Attorney Eric Hochfeld.

“I’ve spoken to the new owner of the dog and the dog is happy, but still has a scar from the BB and some sight reduction,” he said.

He added there was no indication the dog was considered dangerous.

Tulowitzki told Boring he understands his desire to protect his children, but encouraged him to find a legal way to do it the next time.

“In this case you crossed over the line,” he said. “There is a large segment of our population that feels injuring an animal is worse than injuring an individual because they are helpless and can’t fight back.”

Tulowitzki said he felt the plea deal worked out between Hochfeld and Gleason was fair.

“My job is to try to balance the harm done and try to make the owners whole,” the judge told Boring. “This is a new experience for you, and I’m quite sure it’s going to be your last experience.”