No criminal charges for Onondaga Co. woman who shot neighbor's dog

There will be no criminal charges for the 70-year-old woman who shot and killed a neighborâ??s dog on May 31.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says that Susan Leach shot and killed her neighborâ??s mixed-breed pit bull, Tucker, after she says it was chasing her cat in a â??highly aggressive manner.â??

Fitzpatrick says the .22 caliber rifle was legally owned, and that the bullet, if it had missed the target, would have fallen harmlessly in Leachâ??s back yard.

In response to the letters his office have received on the matter, some calling for Ms. Leachâ??s arrest on animal cruelty charges, while others wrote letters of support for Leach.

These five conclusions were reached by the District Attorneyâ??s Office:

-The dog in question, Tucker, has an unfortunate history of acting aggressively towards numerous neighbors. These reports have been confirmed by a review of Elbridge Court records as well as affidavits provided by said neighbors. Tucker has also been spotted on numerous occasions running through the neighborhood unleashed.

-The statute in question is designed to deter or punish offenders who foolishly endanger public safety by discharging a firearm for recreational, hunting or target shooting purposes in proximity to occupied dwellings. The statute does not apply to someone acting with a reasonable belief that such discharge of a weapon is necessary to protect the life of some person or some domesticated animal.

-The only eye witnesses to the event, albeit interested family members, tell a coherent story that is entirely consistent with Ms. Leachâ??s version of events.

-Exactly what Tucker the dog would have done had he caught up to the cat before being shot is pure speculation. Arguments that Ms. Leach should have done this or could have done that are pure conjecture and are of no assistance in deciding how to handle this case. What is clear is that Ms. Leachâ??s assertion that she feared imminent bodily injury or death to her cat was an eminently reasonable conclusion based on all the evidence.

-For the reasons stated above, the Onondaga County District Attorneyâ??s Office declines to prosecute Ms. Leach and will move to dismiss this charge in the interest of justice.

DA Fitzpatrick also warns that any efforts to harass, intimidate or harm Ms. Leach or her family will be â??dealt with harshly.â??

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