With a neighbor like Christopher A. Lucas, who needs enemies?  The 51-year-old, New Castle, IN, man is facing felony charges for shooting his neighbor’s dog after cutting it loose from it’s chain and dragging it to his yard.  His charges include killing a domestic animal, a Class D felony carrying a standard 18-month prison term, and two misdemeanors, criminal trespass and criminal mischief.

Initially lying to the police, he said he caught the dog running around and shot it when it charged at him.  It didn’t take long for the facts to come to light after a bit of investigation.  The vet who examined the dog, Jade, said she was shot at close range rather than from a distance as Lucas claimed.  Other evidence showed the chain was cut and Lucas’ bootprints in Jade’s yard.

When confronted with the evidence Lucas came clean to his cruelty.

“Fine! I went over there and cut the chain and dragged the dog over here and I put my gun behind its ear and shot it,” Lucas said, according to police.

He said he was angry at the incessant barking, that it was aggravating him and his wife since August and his wife was recovering from a medical condition.

Lucas was arrested and held on $8,500 bail in the Henry County Jail. This is not his first brush with the law either, turns out that in 2002 Lucas was convicted of criminal recklessness in 2002 after he fired two bullets into a bedroom floor during a dispute in his home.

A second dog, Midnight, was also chained in the yard and had its chain cut but was uninjured.

Sadly, stories like this are all too common, neighbors angry over barking dogs.  Fortunately few are taken to such extremes and Jade paid the ultimate price.  She was chained in the yard to a tree, had only a limited area of movement and was no doubt very bored and lonely.  This is a recipe for a barking dog, begging for attention.

I will never understand why people have dogs only to leave them outside in a yard or tethered to a chain.  They are companion animals, extremely social by nature.  We domesticated them and bred certain traits into them, there are traits innate to their ancestors, they are pack animals.  You don’t take a pack animal and force it to a lonely, solitary existence, you’re only asking for trouble; anything from constant barking to aggression among others things.

Jade’s sad, lonely existence is over but there is still another dog that was chained in that yard… poor Midnight.

As for Lucas, there is a special place in hell for those who brutalize innocents.  Horrific enough that he shot and killed her, but before that he cut he loose, dragged her and then shot her in the head.  Oh, and she didn’t die right away either.  Initially the vet thought she might actually survive with severe neurological damage, she suffered.  Maybe it’s better she didn’t survive, she’s in a better place now….

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