Stock photo of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
ANNAPOLIS (Jan. 14, 2016)—A St. Mary’s County man was charged Tuesday with two counts of animal cruelty after he shot a dog and cut its throat at Newtowne Neck State Park on Christmas Day, the Maryland Natural Resources Police said.
Marcus S. Stauffer, age 20, of Leonardtown was deer hunting from a tree stand when he saw the dog, a year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, and shot it twice with a muzzleloader. He climbed down from the stand and cut the dog’s throat.
The dog and another retriever are owned by the ranger who lives at the park. The dogs, which wore collars and tags, were confined to a porch while the ranger patrolled the park but broke free.
The ranger found the one dog and, with along with a Natural Resources Police officer, searched the park for the second dog without success.
Hours later, the ranger encountered Stauffer, who said he thought the dog was a stray and that he “shot it for the public.”
He and a family member retrieved the dog’s body from a marshy area.
The charges of animal cruelty, aggravated animal cruelty and destruction of property under $1,000 were reviewed and approved by the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney and Stauffer was served with a criminal summons yesterday.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26 in St. Mary’s District Court. If found guilty of all three charges, Stauffer faces a maximum sentence of three years and a fine of $6,500.
The Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Heritage Service has rescinded Stauffer’s permit to hunt on southern Maryland public lands that require a permit.
Source: Maryland Natural Resources Police