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HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. — A 16-year-old is facing charges after a dog was shot multiple times and abandoned in a kennel on the side of the road in Howard County, according to the Howard County Sheriff’s Office.

HCSO says they were notified of a Kokomo Police Department animal cruelty investigation on January 26. Prior to the sheriff’s office’s involvement, KPD officers were called to the Kokomo Humane Society for a dog that had been shot multiple times and abandoned. KPD and the humane society were able to determine the dog’s owners and that the potential crime occurred in the county near SR 19 & 300 S.

“Due to the quick spread of misinformation and the names of those potentially involved on social
media, the dog’s owners met with deputies to tell their side of the story to end the harassment they
were receiving,” HCSO said in a release.

It was determined during the course of the interview that the dog who has been referred to as “Bear” on social media is actually a brindle pit bull named Leonard.

The dog’s owner explained to deputies that she allowed Leonard to eat out of a bowl she too was eating from when Leonard attacked her face without warning. Leonard’s owner was taken by her boyfriend to the emergency room, where she received stitches around her nose and face, according to HCSO.

Leonard’s owner went on to tell deputies that when they arrived home, they placed Leonard in a separate room in fear that he would attack again. She then called her mother, who has experience working with animals, and asked her to remove the dog from the home and make sure it was taken care of.

The sheriff’s department says the owner stated she did not think that Leonard was going to be killed when she made this request.

On January 25, Leonard’s owner was notified by the humane society that they possibly had her dog and she needed to come identify him. After identifying the dog as Leonard, the owner contacted her mother to find out what happened and provided names of those suspected of shooting the dog to investigators.

On January 27, investigators met with the suspects — a 16-year-old and a family member. HCSO says during an interview, the suspects admitted to investigators that they picked Leonard up from the owner’s house at her request. They then attempted to contact several agencies to take Leonard in but all refused because of his aggressive behavior, the suspects stated.

The suspects then decided to take Leonard into the county and release him to run wild. But when they attempted this, Leonard became extremely aggressive, and the suspects feared he would hurt them or someone else if released, according to HCSO. So, the 16-year-old retrieved a handgun from the vehicle and quickly shot Leonard while in his cage multiple times until he believed him to be dead. Both suspects left Leonard in his kennel on the side of the road.

The 16-year-old has been preliminarily charged with cruelty to an animal and carrying a handgun without a license.

The case remains active, and any further charges will be forwarded to the Howard County Prosecutor at the end of the investigation.

HCSO says the names of those involved in this case are being intentionally withheld “due to the amount of threats and harassments that all parties involved have received.”

Anyone with further information should call Detective Rod Shaffer at 765-614-3475.