By Leah Williams
The case against a Washington County sheriff’s deputy accused of shooting and killing a couple of his neighbor’s dogs will be brought before a grand jury next, officials say.
Washington County State’s Attorney Dan Bronke confirmed that the case has been handed over to his office and that it is scheduled for a possible indictment on March 9.
Deputy Craig McDaniel has been on paid administrative leave since January after reports circulated that he shot and killed two dogs and buried them in the woods following the incident.
Jennifer Akers has previously said that she was searching for her dogs for a couple of hours on Jan. 5 before her neighbors informed her that McDaniel had shot both dogs twice and placed their bodies in a nearby woods.
The incident was investigated by the Perry County Sheriff’s Office, which had completed its report a couple of weeks ago.
Akers previously told the Nashville News 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.”
The Nashville News will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.