Updated 1-8-20 to include Sheriff’s statement regarding McDaniel’s leave of absence
Homeowner Describes Her ‘Living Nightmare’ After Sunday’s Incident
By Leah Williams
Authorities are looking into a shooting incident that occurred on Sunday, January 5, and involved a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed two dogs before dumping their bodies in the woods.
Jennifer Akers said she had been searching for her dogs Bentley and Ella for a couple of hours when two of her neighbors, one of whom was Deputy Craig McDaniel, approached her car window. She said McDaniel was in uniform and had his squad car at the time of the encounter.
Both the neighbors had told her that the dogs had been shot twice and placed in the wooded area nearby.
“This is a living nightmare,” Akers said. “If he had just come talked to me or said their names, they would have just wagged their tails and licked him.”
Sheriff Len Campbell said on Wednesday, January 8, that McDaniel had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an outside agency.
Akers said there had been no prior incidents or complaints about the dogs’ behavior from any of her neighbors. She said McDaniel told her that the dogs were shot because they were chasing cattle.
Akers described both of the dogs as mild mannered, ones who never showed any kind of aggression to anyone. She also wonders why they would have been chasing cattle when neither of their paws were muddy.
Bentley was 7 years old, and Akers said her family received Ella last Christmas as a gift for her now 6-year-old daughter. The pup was a rescue from Clinton County Humane Society, Akers said.
Akers also explained that she made the original post on Facebook because she wanted McDaniel to be held accountable for the killing of her daughter’s dogs. Her daughter was also reportedly in the car when she heard about her dogs’ death.
She said the whole incident has been traumatic for her, and the girl woke up crying and screaming for “her best friends.”
“I just want her to know that we did everything we could to get justice for her,” she said. “Justice for her dogs, her best friends. When you live out in the country, your pets are your best friends.”
Akers also said she was thankful for all of the support that she has received since she put the original post on Facebook Sunday evening.
Campbell said his office has been made aware of the incident and it has been handed over to an outside agency “for the purpose of objectivity.” The outside agency is Perry County Sheriff’s Department and the office has been authorized to provide any further information until the investigation is complete.
“They are on it,” Campbell said.