Colin Krieger/The Packet
An unfortunate incident between neighbors looks like it will end up in court after a family dog was shot and killed early in the morning of July 4.
Columbus Police were dispatched to the 300 block of Sylvan Rd. around 7:45 a.m. Friday after a man walking his dog shot and killed his neighbor’s dog during an alleged attack. Mike Drogula, age 72, of 335 Sylvan Rd. told The Packet that he was walking his elderly dog, Missy, along his normal morning route when he claims a white female Staffordshire Terrier belonging to neighbor Brian Henry attacked his dog.
Drogula said Missy is a Golden Retriever/Pyrenees mix, and weighs over 100lbs. Henry said that his dog, named Sky, is actually an American Bulldog and that she was around 11 months old.
“She went after Missy, she kept biting at her face and neck,” said Drogula. “It just kept coming – I couldn’t stop it.”
Drogula said he had seen the pup nearly every day on his walk, but that it was usually locked up in its pen in the backyard. He said the canine was relentless in its pursuit of his pooch, chasing him over and over again as he tried to separate the two.
“She knocked me down, right to the ground – and I’m no little fella,” said Drogula, who appeared to be in good health and of a weight exceeding 200lbs. “Its paws tore my shirt open.”
Drogula went on to say that he is an adamant dog lover, and that he takes treats to several pooches around the neighborhood. He made it clear that he did not think that Henry’s dog was trying to hurt him, but he did feel certain that it was trying to attack his Missy.
“I couldn’t stop her. So I had to shoot her. It broke my heart,” Drogula said.
He said that he pulled out his (fully-registered) Keltec .380 pistol and shot the dog once and it immediately fell to the ground. Drogula said he then stood over it and shot it a second time, in the head, to stop its suffering.
“She was whimperin’, I couldn’t let her hurt like that,” said Drogula. “But I had to do it, she just wouldn’t stop.”
Henry told The Packet that his pup was a friendly dog and would never hurt anyone. He provided paperwork that showed it was a fully registered and was up to date on its shots.
“She was our family dog – my girls’ dog,” Henry said. “She was so gentle, I just can’t understand what happened.”
An unidentified neighbor who witnessed the shooting spoke with police on scene and said that he felt the shooting was uncalled for.
“He (Drogula) was in between them when he pulled the trigger,” the neighbor said. “I don’t think he needed to shoot her like that.”
The same neighbor told Police that Drogula had shot his dog – a seven-month-old Akita – several years back. Drogula confirmed that he had shot that neighbor’s dog about six years back. In that incident, he claims the dog was attacking him.
“There wasn’t any question about that, that dog was after me, and he (the neighbor) knew it. We never had any words over that.”
Brian Henry said that he was still in shock about the incident when he spoke to The Packet Tuesday. He acknowledged that his dog had escaped her enclosure, but he did note that she had been out in the front yard many times, and had never had any incidents with people walking by. Henry said he had paid about $500 for the dog, and had another $300 or so invested in veterinary work or documentation. Henry said he has filed civil and criminal charges against Drogula.
“I’ve filed a suit in Justice Court for $3000, including pain and suffering,” Henry said. “I’ve also filed criminal charges, so we’ll see where that goes.”
When The Packet arrived to interview Drogula, he was being served the paperwork for the civil suit.
“I guess I understand his anger,” said Drougla. “But I’m telling you, as a dog lover, it had to be done. I would do it again. I’m really just glad I was armed at the time.”
The Packet learned late Wednesday night that Drogula will likely be served with a misdemeanor summons for a criminal charge of animal cruelty. He will have a chance to go in front of a judge and plead his case. The animal cruelty charge was likely allowed on the basis of the neighbor’s testimony, and the second shot to the head could be the mitigating factor if the case is to move forward.
“He didn’t have to shoot her that second time,” said Henry. “He didn’t know if she’d make it, or what I’d do. He didn’t have to do that.”
[I believe it is important to note that both a common seven-month-old Akita, as well as a 10-month-old American Bulldog, are substantial animals. Both would be probably considered more intimidating than a typical dog, and both were probably at least 90lbs at the time of their deaths. Despite the objections of Pit Bull advocates, both American Bulldogs and Staffordshire Terriers would likely fall under the general classification of Pit Bulls by local authorities, which would mean they must be kept in an enclosed area with a high fence. Henry did have the proper enclosure, but his dog was not in it at the time. It is also important to note that his dog did not have a collar, which Drogula noted may have helped him restrain the dog. The judge will, however, need to consider that neither Drogula nor his pup were injured, and that he may have crossed the line when he fired the second shot. – CK] 0