A Florida man was taken into custody after allegedly shooting two dogs belonging to his neighbors. The incident, which occurred in Sorrento, resulted in charges of animal cruelty and felon possession of a firearm and ammunition for the suspect, Sheldon Hayward. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a complaint of animal cruelty on Saturday night, where a woman reported that Hayward had killed her 13-year-old dog, Mary.
According to an arrest affidavit, the woman and her daughter had let their dogs, Mary and Miller, out into their backyard without realizing that the gate was open. When they couldn’t find the dogs, they began searching for them. The dogs were described as non-aggressive. Shockingly, as the daughter stepped outside, she heard a gunshot but was unaware that her neighbor was shooting at their dogs. When the mother approached, she discovered her dog, Mary, with a gunshot wound to the head. Tragically, Mary succumbed to her injuries. Her body was found far away from Hayward’s residence.
In a disturbing turn of events, Hayward allegedly pointed his gun at the woman and her husband when they approached their dog’s lifeless body. The suspect later admitted to shooting the dogs approximately five times from his porch. Hayward claimed that the dogs were aggressive, but he acknowledged that they did not growl or bark at him. According to the arrest affidavit, Hayward stated that a group of dogs had approached his property and jumped on his fence, but they did not exhibit any aggressive behavior. He attempted to scare them away with a shovel, but they did not leave.
Hayward was subsequently arrested and booked into Lake County Jail.