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Utah ex-councilman charged in shooting of dog

SALT LAKE CITY — A former rural Utah town councilman was charged Thursday with a felony count of torturing a companion animal after he was arrested earlier this month for investigation of shooting his neighbor’s dog.

Duchesne County prosecutors filed the third-degree felony charge against Rickey E. Wilberg, 58, of Tabiona. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of intoxication.

Wilberg made an initial court appearance Thursday. In a telephone call with The Associated Press, he declined comment and said he was trying to hire an attorney.

Wilberg initially faced a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge but could spend up to five years in Utah State Prison if convicted of the felony. It wasn’t immediately clear why Deputy County Attorney Grant Charles had bumped up the charge, and a message for him wasn’t returned.

Prosecutors contend Wilberg shot and killed "Rocky," a 9-month-old Chihuahua, with a .22-caliber rifle on May 13. The dog was being trained to be a companion for an elderly person, owner Peggy Redmiles told the AP.

Redmiles, who shares a back fence with Wilberg, said she and her son found the dog in the yard with a bullet hole through its throat. The dog, one of four in the home, usually stays indoors but was left outside while Redmiles took material to a nearby dump.

Two days before the shooting, Redmiles said, Wilberg left a message on her answering machine with a complaint about her dogs.

"Peggy, this is Rick. We’ve had three complaints from the neighborhood," a man said on the message played by Redmiles for the AP. "They want you to shut up your yapping dogs."

Redmiles said she had heard no other complaints from neighbors. She said she would have immediately taken care of any problem if Wilberg had called police or animal control officers and asked them to address the problem.

"I’m devastated that my dog is gone," said Redmiles, who works in local schools.

Earlier this week, Wilberg resigned his post on the Tabiona Town Council in a letter to Mayor Ronnie Giles. Wilberg was halfway through his second four-year term. The council has 30 days to appoint a replacement.

A hearing was set for July 7 in 8th District Court, about 114 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

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May 20, 2011 - Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Chihuahua, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet Abuse, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | ,

1 Comment »

  1. I know it can be frustrating trying to sleep,and not be able to because of barking dogs but Killing them is a violent way of doing things. I have a dog,and he seldom barks,and when he does I can get him to stop barking many times by simply going out side.I tell him no barking,and instill it in his mind not to bark when he goes outside,and many time he will not bark at all when outside,and will give a short woof to let me know he is at the door, and I let him back in. An owner loves their dog, and endures the barking with no problem when they bark. When mine plays with a 13 inch Joly ball with some sand in it he does bark at it a bit trying to figure out how to get his mouth around it seeing it like a large Kong ball. it is all in fun with him, and makes me laugh. Humans who do not own the dog are separated emotionally with the dog, and consequently get agitated like that guy got,and used a weapon on the dog. That is unacceptable,and restitution should be made. a man in the bible killed and dressed a sheep for someone that was to visit. That was the pet of a poor man. There were sheep from a rich man herd that could have been chosen. Harsh words were given to that man to say the least,and David ordered the rich man to give four times that which was taken from the man who loved that sheep like a daughter. What that man did shooting that dog is as bad as that rich man taking,and killing that poor mans sheep. The story is in 2 Samuel 12:4, read KJV bible cc.

    Comment by artiewhitefox | May 20, 2011 | Reply


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