CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Mondrell Smith, Sr. who lives in the 8700 block of S. Boones Trail Road faces felony animal cruelty charges after police said he killed a neighbor's dog. The 23-year-old was arrested more than a month after a grand jury indicted him.
Police said Mondrell Smith shot and killed 13-month old Neeko. The chocolate Labrador was found dead at the bottom of Smith's driveway after Neeko escaped from his home back in February. Neeko's home was just two doors down from the home of Mondrell Smith.
The Reforzo family's beloved Neeko with piercing blue eyes, "He was like a third child for us," now a memory captured in photos for a young Chesterfield family.
"Never once jumped on me, growled at anybody," said owner Jimmy Reforzo. "He was just so awesome."
Jimmy Reforzo took us to his backyard and showed us how Neeko wiggled under the fence in February, after being kept primarily inside during the winter.
"It's right there," said Reforzo as he pointed to the area where Neeko escaped. "If you walk this pathway right here and go past their deck, their driveway is right past their deck. So I mean just right there. He didn't make it very far."
Police said Mondrell Smith spotted Neeko in his yard and he pulled a gun.
"From my understanding, he was shot in the chest with a shotgun," Jimmy said.
Nearly three months later, Jimmy still doesn't know why anyone would shoot the family's first pet.
"Everybody's upset. Everybody's upset. The whole neighborhood was pretty mad."
The adults are angry. The children are heartbroken.
"Her lip shivered up and she just started crying and was saying 'Oh Neeko, No Neeko'" said Reforzo as he explained his three-year old daughters reaction to the news. "It was heartbreaking for me."
County prosecutors took the case straight to a grand jury who handed down felony animal cruelty charges. Mondrell Smith was arrested Monday.
The family is now trying to move on. The children have a new puppy, but Jimmy said Neeko will never be replaced.
Mondrell Smith out on bond. He's due back in court next month. We tried reaching Mondrell Smith for comment, but no one answered the door when we knocked Friday afternoon.