Mennonite man pleads to killing neighbor's dog

Staff reports

Claims of aggressive dog not borne out in evidence

PENN YAN – After previously rejecting a plea bargain in June, a Mennonite farmer from the town of Jerusalem has pleaded guilty to shooting his neighbor's dog to death.

Appearing in Yates County Criminal Court before Judge Jason Cook Thursday, Dec. 3, Wayne Hoover, 35, pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals (class E felony) in exchange for a promised sentence cap of six months in jail and five years probation with no ownership of firearms, dogs, or cats during that time. An order of protection was also issued for the dog's owners.

Hoover was originally arraigned March 17 on the felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals and a misdemeanor charge of illegally discharging a firearm across a highway: Prosser Road west of Branchport.

Hoover, represented by Public Defender Steven Hampsey, rejected the same plea offer in a June 30 session when he claimed that the husky named Shima was aggressive toward children and animals, and came on his property. Assistant District Attorney Alyxandra Stanczak told the court that a necropsy showed the dog had been shot in the side rather than head-on.

Hoover remains free on his own recognizance until sentencing Jan. 19.