Increase in deadly shootings of dogs raises concerns among pet owners and public

WGN Investigates

Anti-Cruelty Society steps up efforts to educate after dogs shot in Northwest Indiana and DuPage County

The shooting of a beloved dog earlier this year on the outskirts DuPage County sparked public outcry.

Now, another case has surfaced with similar consequences.

Pamela Harbison tells WGN Investigates that her 17-pound Terrier mix named Bentley, was shot and killed last summer in Northwest Indiana. She doesn’t believe it was warranted.

In a police report, the neighbor told police that he was walking his dog when Bentley ran up on his property. He then “discharged his weapon into the ground, intending to scare Bentley and accidentally shot him.” But because the dog was technically on his property there were no charges. 

But the incident raises questions as to why these shootings are increasing and the emotional toll it’s taking on affected pet owners.

“It’s happening too much,” Janet Kortum, Harbison’s daughter, said. “It’s not fair to these poor dog owners. An animal is part of your family.”

Earlier this year, another case made headlines when the husband of a town official in the Village of Wayne shot and killed a dog because it was allegedly threatening. No charges were filed in that case, either.

The Anti-Cruelty Society has seen an uptick in these incidents and has stepped-up education efforts in hopes of reducing the incidents.

“I think we are going to continue to see an uptick in violence towards animals because of the disruptions that were experienced during the pandemic,” Darlene Duggan of the Anti-Cruelty Society said.

Harbison has filed a civil lawsuit against her dog’s killer.

The suit is pending. He could not be reached for comment.

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