Jordan Barley and Robert Lilljedahl are mourning the loss of their one-year-old Irish Doodle, Pilot. The Dripping Springs couple says their neighbor shot the dog multiple times, unlawfully killing him.
“We just got married and he was our little baby boy, we don’t have any children so this is our son, and he was murdered,” says Robert.
Wednesday evening, the newlyweds noticed Pilot missing and started searching the neighborhood.
As they walked through the woods, they heard gunshots. “We heard a pop a distinct sound of a pistol and then a dog crying. We were met by our neighbors with a stone-cold face — we asked them if they shot our dog and they said ‘dogs get shot in this neighborhood’,” says Robert.
Robert says he immediately called police and the next day officers retrieved the dog’s body from their neighbor’s yard.
The couple claims they’ve never had previous issues with the dog on their neighbor’s property.
CBS Austin couldn’t reach the neighbor in question.
The Travis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they are looking in to what happened but so far haven’t found signs of criminal activity. TCSO spokesperson Kristen Dark says the neighbor told police that the dog was on his property eating his rabbits.
According to attorney Eric Harron with the Law Office of Eric Harron, a state statute allows property owners to shoot animals that are threatening their livestock, crops or their life.
Livestock animals include: cattle, sheep, poultry, etc. “You can’t just haul off and shoot somebody’s dog when they’re on your property — it’s a third-degree felony,” says Harron.
However, Harron says there are exceptions. “Would an objectively reasonable person feel threatened under those circumstances is what the DA is going to look for,” says Harron.
Jordan and Robert say they plan to pursue criminal and civil penalties.
They’ve created a GoFundMe account for legal expenses, and say any unused money will go towards Austin Pets Alive and Emancipet.