Ryan Haney

Teen shot dog

New Philadelphia, OH Tuscarawas County

March 4, 2006

As a result of an August 3rd bench, trial, Tuscarawas County Juvenile Court Judge Linda A Kate found Ryan Haney, 18, of 142 Timothy Drive in Dover, to be delinquent by reason of cruelty to animals and injury to persons or property by hunting.  Prior to the start of the trial, Haney admitted to hunting without a license, a count of juvenile delinquency.  Haney will be sentenced on August 28th for shooting a New Philadelphia family’s dog.

Haney was 17 on March 4th when a Jack Russell Terrier named Rascal, owned by the Stutzman family, was shot and killed in the same wooded area in which Haney admitted he was attempting to call in coyote in a wooded area off Hummel Valley Road SW.

In Haney’s testimony, he claimed he was unsuccessful in calling in any coyotes so he found a root beer bottle and shot it with his 12-gauge shotgun instead.  He stated he did not see the small white dog which was found laying five to ten feet beyond the bottle, prior to walking up and checking the shattered bottle. He further stated he found the dead dog and called his father for advice. As the dog was wearing no tags, they decided to do nothing.

Haney stated that he would never shoot a dog on purpose but admitted the dog probably died as a result of his unintentional actions.  He further stated that he had to shoot slightly upward to hit the bottle and therefore could not see anything behind it.

Alan Stutzman, the dog’s owner, testified that he searched for a broken bottle or some broken glass near the dog’s body and found nothing. One shell casing matching those at Haney’s home was found in the woods.  Stutzman and other neighbors reported hearing three shots – Haney stated he only fired once.

Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Douglass testified that Haney initially stated he only saw the dead dog.  Sgt. Douglass stated that Haney then told him he knew he shot the dog, but did so accidentally.

Judge Kate wrote in her decision that although she does not think Haney intended to shoot anyone’s pet, he was at the very least, reckless in causing Rascal’ death.  Judge Kate also noted in her decision that she felt Haney was not truthful in many aspects of his testimony.

Update 8/30/06:

Haney's hunting license was suspended for 3 years and he was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service at an area animal clinic. Haney must also pay $238.00 court costs and restitution costs $262.00 within 30 days.

Update:  9/24/07:

Haney appealed his conviction on 9/18/06 to the Tuscarawas County Fifth Appellate District Court on the following grounds.  The appeal was overruled.  Judges William B. Hoffman, John W. Wise and Julie A. Edwards in case #2006 ABP 09 0052 stated we find a reasonable trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant needlessly killed Rascal, in violation of RC 959.13(A)(1).


The Times-Reporter

Tuscarawas County Court of Appeals