South Carolina

SC family mourns dog killed by neighbor

One-year-old pitbull-mix Spartacus was shot to death in his owner’s front yard by a neighbor. His owners say the dog made no move on the neighbor, who has been charged with animal cruelty and two counts of aggravated assault.
One-year-old pitbull-mix Spartacus was shot to death in his owner’s front yard by a neighbor. His owners say the dog made no move on the neighbor, who has been charged with animal cruelty and two counts of aggravated assault. Provided Photograph

A Moore family is mourning the death of its 1-year-old pit bull-shepherd mix after a neighbor has been accused of shooting the dog.

Dexter Alexander Rogers, 45, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault after an incident along Bethlehem Church Road in Moore on Aug. 27. He was released later on bail. Authorities also have a warrant charging Rogers with cruelty to animals, but they hadn’t been able to find him for the second incident.

Rogers drove into the front yard of a neighbor’s residence, took out a shotgun and fatally shot the dog before pointing the gun at two people standing in front of the house, according to an incident report from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.

The homeowner told deputies the dog made no attempt to run toward Rogers and has never shown aggression toward others.

Jessica O’Fair, 27, said she’s not sure why Rogers came to their home to shoot their family dog, Spartacus. She said Rogers used to live at the home along Bethlehem Church Road before she and her family moved in.

“When we got home, Spartacus got outside on our property to use the bathroom. A couple of seconds later, the man pulled up on our property,” O’Fair said. “We felt like he was prepared to kill. … I saw Spartacus jump back when he got hit, and then he pointed the gun at us and that’s when he said, ‘That’s what he gets.’”

Spartacus had its whole life ahead of him, she said.

“We’re taking it day to day,” O’Fair said. “Spartacus, he was not just a dog, he was a family member. … It’s hard seeing something like that happen in front of you and knowing you couldn’t do nothing.”

Jamie Nelson, director of the Spartanburg County Office of Environmental Enforcement, said Rogers was released from the Spartanburg County jail before being served the arrest warrant charging him with cruelty to animals. He said the aggravated assault charges relate to the neighbors who had the gun pointed at them, but he said it did not address shooting the dog.

“The dog had the legal right to be on its property, the gentleman did not,” Nelson said.

The Environmental Enforcement Office checked records on Spartacus and found no incidents of aggression.

“(Rogers) is saying the dog was aggressive, but he didn’t need to be on their property. And he definitely shouldn’t have shot the dog,” Nelson said.

O’Fair wants others to take animal care more seriously and said people should reject the negative stereotype placed on pit bull mixes.

“I wish more could be done about cruelty to animals,” O’Fair said. “I want the laws to be more strict.”

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