Who, age What Where When Last Known Address

Rickey Evin Wilberg, 58

shot, killed a pup

Tabiona, CA

Duchesne County

May 13, 2011  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
Felony misdemeanor intoxication

1 9-month-old Chihuahua pup

Alleged

July 7 in 8th District Court

A member of the Tabiona Town Council has been arrested in connection with the shooting of his neighbor's 9-month-old puppy.

  (Photo courtesy of Duchesne County Jail)  Rickey Evin Wilberg, 58, was booked into the Duchesne County Jail for investigation of animal cruelty and intoxication.

Peggy Redmiles claims Wilberg shot and killed Rocky, her miniature teacup Chihuahua. The incident occurred while the dog was in Redmiles' backyard, which borders Wilberg's property.

"He executed a puppy," Redmiles said. "What right does he have to shoot my dog in my yard when I'm obeying the law?"

Jail records state that Wilberg told sheriff's deputies he shot the puppy through the fence with a .22-caliber rifle because "he had been sick of listening to the dog barking." Deputies recovered the gun and noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from Wilberg, according to jail records.

Redmiles said the incident is part of an ongoing problem with Wilberg. The councilman has been caught peeking through her fence, has yelled at her teenage sons repeatedly, and spread rumors about the family around the small community, she said.  "I just figured he was a grumpy old man who was lonely and had nothing else to do," Redmiles said. "We don't even talk to him."

Wilberg declined to discuss the shooting when contacted saying it is "still under investigation."  He did, however, dispute the claims that he has threatened the Redmiles family or harassed them. Instead, he said, it is the Redmiles family who has been causing problems for him.  "They've egged my house. They've egged my backhoes," he said. "I've got a two-page list of all the things that's gone on the last two years."

The councilman also claims Redmiles' husband, Robert, has threatened to assault him on two occasions.  "I'm 135 pounds, he's probably 250 pounds," Wilberg said. "When he threatened to beat me up, I told him, 'I will be home all night, but I will have a gun.' I did not threaten him in any way, shape or form."

Wilberg said he'd received three recent complaints from Tabiona residents about nuisance barking by the Redmiles' four dogs. When he contacted the family to try to address those complaints, Wilberg said, they responded by calling the sheriff's office to claim he was threatening them.

"I just want some serenity and peace," Wilberg said. "I've done everything I can do for people in this town."

Update 5/20/11:  Wilberg, a Tabiona Town Council member has resigned from office.

Wilberg resigned according to Tabiona Mayor Ronnie Giles. He was charged in 8th District Court with aggravated animal cruelty, a class A misdemeanor, and intoxication, a class C misdemeanor.

However, prosecutors upgraded the animal cruelty charge to torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felony. Prosecutor Grant Charles said the evidence in the case supports the enhanced charge.

Wilberg used a .22-caliber rifle to fatally shoot a miniature Chihuahua puppy named Rocky, jail records state. Duchesne County sheriff's deputies said he told them he shot Rocky because he was "sick of listening to the dog barking."

The puppy was in its owner's backyard. Wilberg admitted that he had been drinking vodka before the shooting, deputies said.

Wilberg, who owns several dachshunds, raised eyebrows in August 2010 when he told the Uintah Basin Standard that the misappropriation of more than $144,000 in funds by a former town clerk had him angry enough to "slap a horse or something."

Update 5/19/11:  Wilberg made an initial court appearance stating he was trying to hire an attorney.

Wilberg initially faced a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge but could spend up to five years in Utah State Prison if convicted of the felony. It wasn't immediately clear why Deputy County Attorney Grant Charles had bumped up the charge.

Prosecutors contend Wilberg shot and killed "Rocky," a 9-month-old Chihuahua, with a .22-caliber rifle on May 13. The dog was being trained to be a companion for an elderly person, owner Peggy Redmiles stated.

Redmiles, who shares a back fence with Wilberg, said she and her son found the dog in the yard with a bullet hole through its throat. The dog, one of four in the home, usually stays indoors but was left outside while Redmiles took material to a nearby dump.

Two days before the shooting, Redmiles said, Wilberg left a message on her answering machine with a complaint about her dogs.  "Peggy, this is Rick. We've had three complaints from the neighborhood," a man said on the message. "They want you to shut up your yapping dogs."

Redmiles said she had heard no other complaints from neighbors. She said she would have immediately taken care of any problem if Wilberg had called police or animal control officers and asked them to address the problem.

"I'm devastated that my dog is gone," said Redmiles, who works in local schools.

Earlier this week, Wilberg resigned his post on the Tabiona Town Council in a letter to Mayor Ronnie Giles. Wilberg was halfway through his second four-year term. The council has 30 days to appoint a replacement.

A hearing was set for July 7 in 8th District Court, about 114 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

Reference:

Duchesne County Jail The Deseret News
The Standard Examiner