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Neighbors worry for animal safety after dog found shot, killed

By Bianca Montes
Nov. 23, 2013 at 5:23 a.m.
Updated Nov. 24, 2013 at 5:24 a.m.

Baby, a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier,  was shot and killed while playing in a backyard Nov. 14 in the 4600 block of Lilac Lane.

Dogs who live on Lilac Lane should blissfully rollick in their backyards -- where it's shaded, spacious and tucked away from the heavy traffic on Mockingbird Lane.

But something is wrong.

The homeowners who live on the eastern side of the street said recently, their animals have become hesitant to go outside.

Victoria police officers were called to a home last week in the 4600 block of Lilac Lane. A 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier was shot dead just outside the back door.

"Baby was a step away from the doggy door," Vickie Grzybowski said about her dog.

A preliminary investigation suggests the small dog was killed utilizing a small-caliber firearm or pellet gun, Sgt. Eline Moya wrote in an email earlier in the week.

"Who would shoot a puppy?" the dog's owner asked. "I don't understand who would do a thing like that."

Baby isn't the only pet that has been injured on Lilac Lane. Neighbor Lin Duty, 40, has a long list of pets who have been injured by bullets, beginning with his rabbit that was shot a few months ago.

At first, he though the rabbit had been stabbed by some tree brush outside the house. "I never would have thought it had been shot," he said.

His Australian shepherd, Rowdy, has a hole in his paw from being shot recently, and his golden retriever, Maggie, was shot in the shoulder a month ago.

"They usually like running and playing outside," Duty said. "Now, they're more hesitant to go outside. They don't want to go out there."

According to the Humane Society website, there isn't a national reporting system for animal abuse, but the society says it gathers its statistics from media reports.

Dogs are the most common victims of animal cruelty, according to the website.

Cruelty cases reported to animal control in Victoria or investigated by the police department were not available.

Texas Penal Code 42 states that a person commits an offense if he or she "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly tortures an animal or in a cruel manner kills or causes serious bodily injury to an animal."

The offense is a state jail felony or a felony of the third degree if the person has two or more prior convictions.

"I think they're targeting the smaller dogs," Duty said "When they shot the bigger dogs, they probably didn't get the reaction they wanted.

"The small dogs yelp and make a ruckus. It's sad but true."

Before her dog was shot, Grzybowski said, she used to let her granddaughter play in the backyard. "I can't do that anymore. She can't go outside anymore. It's not safe anymore."

Grzybowski said she holds onto hope that police officers will solve the issue and the animal-loving neighborhood can return to normal.

But, she said she will never forget watching her husband give their dog CPR. "I would like to think she died instantly," she said. "It was sad. You'd think your dogs were safe in their own backyard."

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