Aurora residents are frightened and outraged after they learned that their neighbor shot and killed another neighbor's dog with a high-powered pellet gun earlier this week. And this wasn't the first time he's shot at other people's pets, two residents said.Craig Deering, 68, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the shooting of his neighbor's dog, "Kaci," police said Friday.Deering initially denied any knowledge of the shooting, according to a police report. But when an officer said two neighbors witnessed the shooting, Deering said: "Yes, I shot the dog with a pellet gun just to scare it out of my yard," according to the report."(Deering) stated that he was standing inside his house when he opened the front door and fired the gun at the dog," according to the report.
The dog had been following her owner and the owner's two young sons to the community mailbox. Kaci was trailing about 5 feet behind, said the dog's owner, Dana VanLiew. Two neighbors working on a car said they heard the "shot" of the pellet gun coming from Deering's house next door, the police report said. VanLiew said she didn't know anything was wrong until the dog entered their garage, collapsed on her side and "began to shake violently," the report said. "My first thought was: 'Oh my God, she got stung by a bee,'" VanLiew recounted. "She's allergic to bees and now she's going to go into cardiac arrest. And then I looked at her stomach and I saw the puncture wound. The last thing I would have thought is that she'd be shot by a neighbor of mine." A friend helped VanLiew rush the dog to an animal hospital where a veterinarian confirmed Kaci was shot with a "high-powered pellet gun" and two pellets were found inside the animal. VanLiew is still grappling with the killing of Kaci, a Hungarian Vizsla retriever who was nursing a new litter of puppies. "I'm in shock. I'm numb," she said Friday. "There was no reason why he should have killed my best friend. She was one of my children, and I would never expect anybody to do such a terrible, terrible thing. There's no remorse. There's no apology, there's no nothing."Deering was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty and firing a weapon within city limits. He was released on $1,500 bond. The shooting of a beloved pet riled residents in the Seven Hills neighborhood. "(Deering) is now back home and acting like nothing's happened," neighbor Astrid Weimer said in a e-mail to TheDenverChannel.com. "People are worried about their animals and their kids now," she said. Weimer said she gave Deering a piece of her mind. "I just told him that he is a sorry excuse for a human being," she said. "You know neighbors should be there for each other." Weimer also planted a sign on her front lawn declaring, "Dog Killer Lives Here," with an arrow pointing at Deering's house. After his initial denials, Deering said he shot the dog because "he had been attacked by the dog previously and didn't want the dog in his yard," the report said. VanLiew told 7NEWS she'd never heard of Kaci attacking the man and doesn't believe it's true. Asked for the gun, Deering showed police where it was "hidden in a trash can," the police report said. The pistol was loaded with a pellet in the chamber. Deering was arrested and informed of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney, police said. "The suspect stated that he did understand his rights and (that) he would buy the victim another dog," the officer wrote in the report. Asked why he put the pellet gun in the trash, "(Deering) stated that he figured that the victim would call the police since her dog was probably bleeding," the report said. TheDenverChannel.com found Deering had a 1998 conviction for driving while ability impaired in Arapahoe County, according to court records. After a Denver domestic violence arrest in 1991, Deering pleaded no contest to threatening a person, disturbing the peace and destroying property. He was sentenced to three days in jail and one-year probation. VanLiew said its hard to explain to her boys that their dog is dead."My boys want Kaci back. They came home Tuesday night and came inside and they called her name and I had to tell them what had happened," she said. The killing of a pet has meant a loss of innocence and trust in the close-knit suburban neighborhood."I just want people to know that they need to be careful," VanLiew said. "If you think it's OK for your dog to come outside with you to check your mail, think again. Because you never know who your neighbors are just when you think you do.""You've got to be careful. This could happen to anybody's dogs. What's next, a child?" she said.