According to a complaint that was recently filed with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Seth Fisher was contacted by the Jackson County 911 dispatch on or about Dec. 21, regarding a dog that had been shot and left near the area of the Hudson Place apartments in Ripley.

Fisher along with Teresa Hager, Jackson County Humane Officer, arrived on the scene and were met by several individuals who led them to the dog’s location.

The complaint states Fisher observed what appeared to be a medium-sized black labrador mix with a possible gun shot wound to the face. Along with one large entrance wound, there appeared to be numerous other smaller wounds from what Fisher believed to be “birdshot.” The dog appeared to be semi-conscious, but breathing normal, the complaint states.

In further investigation of the scene, Fisher located a trail of blood that led back to an apartment. Fisher noted in the complaint that he observed blood on the door, door frame, sidewalk, and shoes that were located outside of the apartment. According to the complaint, it appeared to Fisher that the dog had gone back to it’s home after being shot.

Fisher knocked on the apartment door and spoke with the male resident of the home, Cody Deel, who advised Fisher that he had shot the dog the day before on Dec. 20, because the dog had bit a child. The complaint states the dog bit the child while the child was attempting to take a piece of trash from the dog.

Deel stated he put a leash on the dog and led it to a field behind the apartment complex where he proceeded to shoot the dog in the face with a shotgun. According to the complaint, Deel then went back to the apartment and took the child to the emergency room.

Fisher questioned if Deel had noticed the large amount of blood outside of the apartment. According to the complaint, Deel advised he had not been outside of the apartment since he had shot the dog. The complaint states when Deel was questioned by Fisher as to why he had left the dog outside to die, Deel replied, “I was going to bury it.”

Fisher then went inside the apartment and the complaint states he observed a small child with what appeared to be a small puncture wound to the underside of the child’s arm along with scratches and bruising, according to the complaint.

While Fisher was speaking with Deel, another officer measured the distance from the closest occupied apartment to where the deputies believed the dog to have been shot. The complaint states the distance was less than 115 feet.

Hager then transported the dog to an emergency veterinarian clinic in Parkersburg, where it was confirmed through x-rays that the dog had been shot by a 20-gauge shotgun.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger said the department is not going through this case with “tunnel vision.”

“The concept of him putting a child’s life first is absolutely paramount,” Mellinger said of Deel. “Under no circumstance are we putting a dog’s life ahead of a child. A child’s life will always come first. The issue we have is the reckless manner that he did it in and the complete disregard for the safety of everybody else there at the housing complex. The dog’s suffering is another major issue.”

Mellinger said Deel’s inability to show some compassion for the humility of the dog, to make sure that it didn’t suffer, is another concern in the investigation.

Mellinger said this was a “knee-jerk reaction” where in Deel’s mindset, he felt he needed to put the dog down immediately due to the circumstances. According to Mellinger, it was not necessarily that he did it, but the way he did it that causes the problem. Mellinger said the case still under investigation.

“At the end of the investigation if it does show that the dog does need to be put down, so be it,” Mellinger said. “Our primary concern is for the well-being of the child. It was a legitimate dog bite.”

Mellinger said there are different sub-divisions in the Animal Cruelty Code and after consulting with the prosecutor’s office, a warrant was issued that same evening for Deel. Due to leaving the animal to die unattended, Deel was charged with a crime of Cruelty to Animals – Abandoning an animal to die.