VICKSBURG, MS (WLBT) - When brothers 8-year-old Ladale and 4-year-old Ledaron Dixon of Vicksburg took off on their bikes Monday afternoon with their Shih-Tzu dog "Lady" running with them, they never dreamed it would be the dog's last run.
"She wasn't barking that much or nothing," Ladale said.
Across Patton Street, a few houses down Eugene Bell could hear the dog barking. He declined to talk to us on camera, but he gave us his version of what happened.
Bell said when he opened his front door, a young boy was standing in one corner of his small yard, and the dog was in the opposite corner of the yard, relieving itself on the grass.
Bell also said Lady advanced toward him, so he returned with a pump-style BB gun and fired one shot, hitting lady in the hip area. Bell said he didn't mean to kill the dog, but he did.
Police arrested Bell on a misdemeanor charge of killing an animal. "He reported to police that the dog continued to come to his yard, defecate, urinate on his property. He was tired of it," says Vicksburg Police Sergeant Sandra Williams.
The boys' aunt, Teaira Washington, heard the incident from her porch. "All I heard was a gunshot," she said. "My nephew came running to me and said that man shot our dog. He did it right in front of the kids."
Ladale said Lady never set paw on Bell's lawn. "Lady was in the street barking at him. He came outside, looked at it, went back in, got the gun, shot Lady," he said.
Bell can pay a fine of $536, but he indicated to 3 On Your Side he wants to fight it in court. Lady was not on a leash, which is a city ordinance violation.
It's not believed the children were close enough to be in danger from the BB gun fire. Even so, the boys' grandfather said this canine case isn't closed.
"We're gonna let the law handle this, do our best to see if we could get this guy some jail time," Tommie Rawlings said. "If he had a problem with the dog, he could have come and talked to us about it or contacted Animal Control."
Bell has filed a counter charge against the family for violation of the leash law.
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