DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – Family members are grieving after a neighbor allegedly shot and killed two of their pet dogs.
Deputies have charged Kenneth Crawford, 53, with two counts of felony animal cruelty and a weapon violation.
“It’s hard to see your dogs passed away in a neighbor’s yard… and having to put them in your car so you can bury them,” said Hannah Capps, through tears.
Capps said her 1-year-old German Shepherd, Bear, and her 12-year-old Shepherd-Wolf mix, Asa, got loose from her Baum Bay Harbor home’s fence on Sunday morning. The next time she saw them, they had bullet holes in their heads on St. Clair Road, blocks away from her home.
“They were gone. They were still warm, but they were gone.”
CBS North Carolina’s Hampton Roads, Virginia sister station, went to Crawford’s home for comment, but no one answered the door. Nearly a dozen neighbors who spoke with WAVY jumped to his defense, but didn’t want to be interviewed on-camera.
“I believe he is a neighborhood hero. I really do,” one woman said.
The neighbors don’t refer to the pets as dogs, but as wolves. They claim the pair frequently got loose, terrorized neighbors and hurt other animals. One neighbor said the pair were scaring Crawford’s wife and dog minutes before the shooting.
“All of a sudden, I heard the woman screaming very, very loud and I knew who it was,” the neighbor said. “Then I heard dogs barking… I was real scared.”
But Capps told WAVY the pets were gentle. She said Bear was a huge comfort to her 2-year-old son, who has special needs.
“That’s part of what hurts the most, to see how upset my son is. You can’t just replace your son’s best friend, it doesn’t work that way.”
Capps said she feels there is justice with Crawford having been charged. She applauded the Dare County Sheriff’s Office.
Crawford was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. Many of his neighbors said they hope to see the charges dropped.