Elyria man charged after shooting neighbor’s dog

ELYRIA, Ohio - Wendy Starks says she was at home with her family on Sunday, her husband grilling steaks for Mother's Day, when their four-year-old Pit Bull Terrier jumped the fence from their back yard.

"He doesn't usually leave our side but my husband had just walked in for a split second while he was out here in our back yard and he jumped the fence," said Starks.

She describes the dog as easy-going and playful, explaining they got the dog from the Lorain County APL after it had already undergone temperament evaluation and had a thorough introduction process with her family, including their other pets.

"He jumps up on people and he will lick you to death. And he stands as tall as I do on his hind legs. And that's what he does as soon as somebody enters the door - he licks them."

But when Onyx escaped on Sunday, he went to a neighbor's home where ten children, ages one to twelve, were playing in the front yard.

Sean Young says he was with the adults just inside the open front door when they heard barking and screaming from the front yard.

Young tells Fox 8 News he kicked the dog away and while the other adults were gathering up the children to usher them indoors, he went to the Stark's home to let them know their dog was loose.

"Take my self to his door, and I'm banging on his door and as I'm banging on his door he's still trying to bite me and that's when (his father in law) shot him," said Young.

Police say they responded to the scene where 41-year-old Donte Love told them the gun was in the basement of Young's house.

After Young gave officers permission to search the residence, they found a handgun in the home that had been reported stolen.

Starks says the dog had been shot through the nose.

"He said that he was just trying to scare it, so once it lunged at him he just pulled the trigger," said Young.

"If the child was actually being attacked, by all means do what you need to do. But the children were checked out by EMS and there's not a mark on them," said Starks.

Young says his daughter was burned when she ran into the grill trying to get away from the dog, which he describes as a nuisance.

He says Onyx has got away from his owners before and while he may be very playful and loving at home it isn't always like that when he gets away.

"It doesn't know my family. It knows your family, you know. I wouldn't expect my dogs to bite anybody in my house but I'm not going to say they wouldn't bite somebody else out here you know," said Young.

Young says his father-in-law may not have wanted to wait until after any of the children were injured to try to protect them.

Police have charged Love, who has a previous felony conviction, with having weapons under disability and receiving stolen property, both felonies, and with harming or killing animals and discharging a firearm, both are misdemeanors.

Harold Starks, Wendy's husband, was cited for not restraining his dog.

Onyx was scheduled for surgery on Tuesday.

The veterinarian told his family the bullet had lodged in his spine and that it would not be able to be removed. His wounds are being treated and the dog is expected to be returned to his family in three days.