Varina man convicted again for shooting neighbor's dog

By Andy Jenks - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A Varina area man faces the possibility of 30 days in jail for shooting a dog that he says made him fear for his life.

Mack Hudson, 79, walked out of circuit court, into the pouring rain, almost out of options. Now, two courts have found him guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty for the July 9 shooting of "Grace", an Australian Shepherd.

"It's a relief. I was worried when the case was appealed," said Heather Sheffield, one of Grace's owners.

Sheffield was at work that day, when her 11-month-old puppy wandered without a leash onto Hudson's property. In testimony, Hudson said he was scared when the animal, which appeared to him as a stray, showed her teeth.

"I was shaking, trembling, fearing for my life," the Korean War veteran told a judge.

So Hudson said he found his shotgun and aimed high.

"I didn't want to kill a dog" he testified. Indeed, Grace survived, but was wounded from head to tail, requiring an eight day stay in a veterinary hospital.

Hudson testified, "It was the worst incident I'd been in. Even worse than Korea."

Sheffield felt little sympathy.

"Very pleased with the guilty verdict," she said.

Hudson offered no comment as he left the courthouse on his way home, for now.

"It is frustrating, I would've liked to see him go straight to jail," Sheffield said.

In August, the general district court gave Hudson 30 days in jail, served on weekends. The 79-year-old's attorney is still working to reduce that following today's failed appeal.

Grace, meanwhile, is getting better, though there appear to be signs of permanent damage to her vision and hearing. Heather hopes her neighbor hears the judge loud and clear.

"No matter how old you are, how young you are, you cannot get away with animal cruelty," she said.

Hudson will be sentenced by the higher court in November. Until then, he remains free on bond. He will likely be ordered to cover the more than $8,000 in veterinary bills incurred by Grace's owners.

In a separate matter, Grace's owners were cited for allowing their pet to run at-large, a violation of what's commonly called the Henrico "leash law".

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