ROCKWOOD (WATE) – The death of a stray dog left a Rockwood neighborhood with more questions than answers.
Nearly a dozen community members fed “Buddy” for several months, until it was found shot dead along the side of Airport Road on Rockwood Mountain.
“I can’t believe people are that mean to shoot a dog that is perfectly healthy. He wasn’t hurting anybody,” said Billy Gibson, one of Buddy’s caretakers.
Gibson said he thinks the dog was killed in a drive-by shooting, an act neighbors labeled “malicious.”
“They just wanted to see him die,” he said.
Steve Cochran of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department said acts of animal cruelty often signal future crimes against people.
“Very well documented cases show these serial killers start out young mutilating, killing animals just for the fun of it,” Cochran said, “just to watch them die.”
Gibson said Buddy’s killer is a young male who bragged to neighbors after the fact, but it is unclear whether there is enough evidence to charge him.
“With something like this it’s pretty hard to prove if there are no eye witnesses,” Cochran said. “So we’ll just have to investigate it the best we can.”
Though punishment is unlikely, Gibson remains hopeful that justice will be served, but until then, the Rockwood community is left with a heavy heart.
“Every time I go by there I look for him to feed him,” Gibson said. “And he’s not there anymore.”
Gibson and others met with police Feb. 2 to file a police report and discuss likely outcomes.