COWEN, W.Va. (WBOY) — A man was charged after he told deputies that he had “taken care of” several dogs because they killed his neighbor’s chickens.
On Dec. 14, deputies with the Webster County Sheriff’s Department responded to a residence on Brewster Ridge Road in Cowen because a caller said that “dogs killing and maiming their chickens,” according to a criminal complaint.
When deputies responded to the scene, they saw part of a fence that had been torn down and “observed one dead chicken and multiple others with chunks of flesh and feathers missing,” deputies said.
The chickens’ owner told troopers that his neighbor, Jeremy Smallwood, 40 of Cowen, stated “he was taking the dogs and killing them,” and then put the dogs in his “blue Dodge truck jacked up with loud exhaust,” according to the complaint.
Deputies later made contact with Smallwood on Williams River Road, during which time Smallwood stated “that his dogs had killed the neighbor’s chickens and he took the dogs to get rid of them,” deputies said.
After seeing the barrel of a pellet rifle in his back seat, deputies asked Smallwood where he had taken the dogs. Smallwood replied, “That they was taken care of” and that “he didn’t need in any trouble,” and a child passenger in the truck stated that “they was shot and put over a hill,” according to the complaint.
After being read his rights, Smallwood stated “he didn’t want to say anything that would get him into trouble”; deputies with the assistance of West Virginia State Police Troopers then searched for the dogs, deputies said.
Approximately a mile from where deputies stopped Smallwood, deputies “could hear what sounded like dogs yipping,” and approximately 60 feet over the edge of a cliff, deputies saw three dogs, according to the complaint.
After making their way down the hill, deputies found “six pup dogs approximately 3 to 4 months old yelling and whimpering”; each dog “had shot wounds to the head.” A dog warden then transported the animals to the Webster County Animal Shelter, deputies said.
Deputies stated that “all six dogs had been shot in the head multiple times with a pellet rifle and then thrown over the hill/cliff,” according to the complaint. Four of the dogs were “euthanized due to their injuries,” another died while being taken to the Nicholas County Animal Hospital, and a sixth is listed “in critical condition.”
Smallwood has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty. He is being held in Central Regional Jail on $100,000 bond.