Posted: Feb 13, 2013 1:50 PM by Erin Schattauer
BOZEMAN - A man previously arrested for shooting at his neighbor is now accused of taking the neighbor's dog and hiding it on his property.
David Wendel pleaded not guilty in Gallatin County Justice Court this morning to animal cruelty and theft, both misdemeanors. Judge Rick West set bail at $2,500.
A Gallatin County sheriff's deputy was called to the Belgrade residence on Dec. 29, 2012 to investigate a report of a German Shepherd that was missing. The owner said he believed Wendel may have stolen and killed the dog.
A woman said she and her husband had taken their dogs on a walk the day before when their 7-month-old German Shepherd was left unattended for three minutes then disappeared. The woman said she and her husband had problems in the past with Wendel regarding dogs. She said in 2010, Wendel shot at her husband with a shotgun and was convicted of assault with a weapon.
Wendel is on probation but had permission to go to the residence from Dec. 23-28.
Deputies went to investigate and found dog tracks in the snow, leading from the dog owners' property through a hole cut in a wire fence to Wendel's property, court papers state. A tenant at Wendel's residence said Wendel had been there between Dec. 23 and 28.
Deputies went into the house and found a bowl filled with what appeared to be anti-freeze. The German Shepherd was found in a small closed area of a shop that was unheated and about 20 degree Fahrenheit, court papers state. The dog had no food or water, court papers state.
While there, deputies also reportedly found a dead raptor on the property.
The tenant reported to deputies that Wendel has violent sentiment towards dogs.