Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Donald E. "Don" Call(1) Mayor kills 2 dogs

Girard, KS

Crawford County

February 1, 2009  
Duane E. Wahl, 33(2) keeping dangerous dogs

Girard, KS

Crawford County

February 1, 2009 Mulberry, KS
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
Felony pled down to a misdemeanor

(1)Misdemeanor weapon charge

(2) criminal damage to property, unlawful discharge of a firearm, falsely reporting an offense, obstruction of the legal process, plead guilty to indecent liberties with a child under the age of 16 & murder

2 dogs

(1) plea agreement

(2) Not charged for vicious dogs, convicted of other unrelated charges

(2) April 5, 2010

Donald E. "Don" Call, the mayor of McCune, has been arrested on three charges related to the shooting of two dogs.
A warrant was issued for Call for two counts of cruelty to animals and one count of criminal discharge of a firearm.

  (Photo courtesy of Crawford County Sheriff's Department)  Call turned himself in to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and posted a $3,000 bond.

County attorney Michael Gayoso said that the two counts of cruelty to animals, which can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor, will be prosecuted as felonies in this case.

If convicted, each count of felony animal cruelty comes with a mandatory 30 days to a maximum of one year in jail, a mandatory $500 to a maximum of $5,000 fine, and mandatory court-ordered psychological evaluation which includes, but is not limited to anger management counseling.

The issue turns on an incident in McCune. According to Call, he had received a phone call from a McCune family that a pair of dogs had chased two of the family’s children.  Call then drove to the residence, 612 Oak St., the home of Duane Wahl, and shot both dogs.

He then came back to the site with a trailer and loaded both dogs’ bodies and took them to his home to dispose of them. Just before noon, a deputy went to investigate the shooting after a caller reported the incident. The deputy went to the site and to Call’s residence and confirmed the dogs had been shot.

There is a McCune city ordinance that dogs at large are subject to impoundment and that no dogs shall be “disposed of until after a minimum of three full business days of custody.” The City Superintendent is responsible for handling dog cases.

Call stated that the City Superintendent could not be reached at the time.

This is not the first incident with Wahl’s dogs.   Since July 2008, there have been four calls regarding Wahl’s three German shepherd’s in the town being aggressive. Wahl had been advised to keep the dogs pinned up.

On Sept. 15, the McCune city council went into executive session for 10 minutes to discuss the issue of Wahl’s dogs. On Jan. 12, Wahl said he would get rid of the dogs.

Wahl told the deputy that the shot German shepherd was not his dog, but confirmed the other dog was his.

Call has been the mayor of McCune since September 15, 2008.

The city does have a tranquilizer gun. City Clerk Dianne Nutt said the gun was purchased new on May 22, 2008. It is stored at the water plant, and the city superintendent has a key to it.

Update 4/10/09:  Voters in a southeast Kansas town have re-elected their mayor, even though he faces felony charges for allegedly killing another man's dogs.

McCune Mayor Don Call was returned to office by a 3-1 ratio in voting, despite the charges and his status as a write-in candidate.  "Everybody in town supported what I done anyway,'' Call said.

Update 6/29/09:  McCune Mayor Don Call, who has maintained that he was justified in shooting a resident’s two dogs, was bound over for trial after a preliminary hearing in Crawford County District Court.

Call entered pleas of innocent as District Judge Don Nolan questioned him on each of the three counts.

Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso said felony charges were filed because he believes the dogs were killed maliciously.

McCune’s dog ordinance, adopted in 2006, states that dogs running at large are subject to impoundment, and that no dogs may be “disposed of until after a minimum of three business days of custody.”

According to reports filed in February with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and restated by Nolan during the hearing, witnesses said Call fired three times from his vehicle, driving around the block between each time.  Evidence submitted during the hearing included the 9 mm rifle allegedly used by Call.   “That was an act that took some degree of time,” Nolan said before ruling that there was sufficient evidence that Call be bound over for trial on all three counts.

“If you acted with maliciousness, that is to be determined by trial,” Nolan told Call.  Leaving the courthouse, Call was surrounded by about 10 supporters who attended the hearing. Public opinion, in the form of letters to the editor and to Gayoso’s office, has been both for and against the charges filed against Call.

After the hearing, Call declined to comment, deferring to his attorney, Rick Smith, who said the outcome of the hearing “was not unexpected.”  “We have the right to present our case at trial, and that’s what we’ll do,” Smith said. 

If Call is found guilty on the felony counts, he could face a minimum penalty of 30 days to no more than a year in jail, and a fine of between $500 and $5,000, according to Gayoso.  “During that 30 days, he also must have a psychiatric evaluation to determine the condition of his probation,” Gayoso said, adding that probation would include the completion by Call of an anger-management class.

If Call is found guilty on the misdemeanor count, he could face 30 days of jail time and a fine of $500, Gayoso said.

Trial date The trial is scheduled for Dec. 9-11, with a pretrial and motions hearing slated for Nov. 23.

Update 11/25/09:  Duane E. Wahl, 33, Mulberry, has been charged with four misdemeanor counts for an incident at his home in early October.

Wahl claimed that his house at 410 W. Perry had been shot at by a man driving a silver Toyota truck on Oct. 5.

However, Mulberry police and the county sheriff's department determined that Wahl himself had done the shooting.

Mulberry city attorney Tim Fielder said Wahl has been charged with criminal damage to property, unlawful discharge of a firearm, falsely reporting an offense and obstruction of the legal process. Wahl will make his first appearance in court on December 9.

Wahl is also involved in several other cases throughout the county. Earlier this month, Wahl plead guilty to a count of indecent liberties with a child under the age of 16. Wahl will be sentenced for that on Jan. 11, 2010.

Wahl's legal battles raise further questions about the prosecution of Don Call, the McCune mayor, over Call's shooting of two of Wahl's dogs in early February.

Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso Jr. said it is undetermined whether the Wahl situation would have any effect on the Call case.

"It may have bearing as to how we decide to proceed with [the Don Call ] case," Gayoso said.

Update 12/14/09:  A tentative plea deal has been reached in the case of a small-town Kansas mayor who killed two dogs after receiving a call that they had been bothering a neighbor's children.

The agreement between McCune Mayor Don Call and Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso is still awaiting a signature. But the lawyers involved say the deal calls for the dismissal of two felonious animal cruelty charges and a diversion on a misdemeanor weapon charge.

The deal was offered just before an announcement that the owner of the dogs was being charged with first-degree murder in an unrelated case.

Gayoso says the charge would impair the owner's credibility as a witness.

Update 12/15/09:  McCune Mayor Don Call added another chapter to his case for shooting a pair of dogs in February.

Call submitted a bill for $6,000 to the McCune City Council, requesting payment for his legal fees in the case.  "I don't know if the city can even help with my legal bills or not," Call said during the meeting at the McCune Community Center.

Call's attorney, Rick Smith of Pittsburg, stated that a diversion agreement had been reached with the Crawford County Attorney's office and that the nature of the agreement was that all felony counts would be dropped and Call would be diverted to a misdemeanor charge.

Call said his reasoning for submitting the bill to the council was because of the service he felt it was to the city to shoot the dogs.  "It has been a problem for two years," Call said. "I finally put a stop to it.  "I took care of a city problem."

Update 1/22/10:  Wahl, was charged in December with murder in the death of a Richard Davis.

"Through the course of this investigation it was determined that Wahl was allegedly responsible for a burglary and theft that occurred two days prior to Davis' disappearance in Cherokee. A shop owned by Donald Buckley (Wahl's stepfather) was broken into on Oct. 27."

Wahl is accused of this break in by the Crawford County attorney. The investigation also revealed that Wahl was allegedly responsible for the theft of a cell phone that occurred on Oct. 27. This theft occurred at Wahl's former employer, Watco, in rural Pittsburg.

Officials received a tip where Davis's body was located from a family member of Duane Wahl.  Wahl has been in the Crawford County Jail with no bond.

After his disappearance on Oct. 30, 2009, Horton said that Davis, his wife and two children, had moved to the area from Oklahoma and befriended Wahl and his girlfriend. The Davises and Wahl's then lived in the same home, 410 W. Perry in Mulberry, with Wahl and his then-girlfriend at the time of the disappearance.

Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso Jr. responded to a competency evaluation motion by Steve Stockard, Wahl's court-appointed attorney.

But the bigger surprise was another motion filed by Stockard, asking to be removed from serving as Wahl's attorney.

In the motion, Stockard said that "because of professional considerations, counsel could no longer act as his attorney." Gayoso said the motion is likely because Stockard is a potential witness in the murder case.

Because of the pending motion to withdraw as attorney, Wahl will have the ability at the status conference to object to the motion. If Wahl does not object, he will be assigned a new attorney. If Wahl does object, Stockard would have to explain the reasoning behind his motion before the judge determines whether Stockard should be removed.

Gayoso's brief in response to the competency evaluation motion reveals a detail about the case that had not been released: Davis was a witness against Wahl for charges issued by the City of Mulberry that accuse Wahl of shooting at his own home and falsely reporting the crime.

Also included in Gayoso's brief is an argument that Stockard had not raised the competency issue in other cases Wahl has before the court, namely for Wahl's plea of guilty for indecent liberties of a minor child in November 2009. Even as recently as the sentencing for that case on January 8, 2010, Stockard had not raised the question of competency.

Gayoso further notes that on several occasions, Wahl has been informed of and waived his Miranda rights in dealings with police officers.

Reference:

The Morning Sun The Hutchinson News
The Wichita Eagle The Joplin Globe
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