Reward offered in Bleckley dog shootings

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information about the shooting deaths of two Bleckley County dogs.

Scott Echols returned home from a trip to the store the morning of June 21 and found out that both of his dogs were shot — one dead, the other near death.

A neighbor, who lived down the road from Echols on Jim Wimberly Road, heard the gunshots and feared someone was shooting at her son’s dogs.

She checked and found Echols dogs, Champ, a redbone coonhound, shot in the head, and Louie, a border collie, dead from a gun blast

Lt. Daniel Cape of the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office said the dogs were shot “at very close range” with what appears to be buckshot.

Champ, who later died, and Louie were on a neighbor’s property when they were found, but the property owner is not a suspect, Cape said.

He said the dogs were known to wander but were “very mild-mannered dogs.”

Cheryl McAuliffe, Georgia director for The Humane Society of the United States, said she received a call from someone in the Bleckley County area about the dogs’ deaths and arranged for offering the reward.

“The reward can be very useful (in finding perpetrators),” she said, adding money for the reward comes from donations to the national organization.

Cape said reports of severe animal cruelty are rare in Bleckley County. Most of the people who shoot dogs do so because the dogs are threatening other animals or trespassing on their property.

“But I’m sure it happens more than we know,” Cape said.

The number of people reporting animal cruelty is becoming more common as people are becoming more aware of animal cruelty laws, he said.

Severe animal cruelty cases also are rare in Macon, where a dog was found dead Friday afternoon off Mercer University Drive near Pansy Avenue. The dog, found dead in an open field, had been cut in the neck and impaled with a metal rod.

Nearby residents said they didn’t see anyone harm the dog and didn’t want to get involved, according to a Macon police report.

Macon Animal Control Director Jim Johnson said severe animal abuse cases are reported sporadically. Fewer than five were reported in 2008.

Because of fear of publicity or prosecution, more people are calling the police and animal control when they’re having a problem with a dog instead of taking matters into their own hands, he said.

Anyone with information about the killing of the Bleckley County dogs is asked to call (478) 934-4545.

Anyone with information about the dog found dead in Macon is asked to call the Macon police at 751-7500 or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.