I never thought that I would be researching Virginia law on when it is legal to shoot someone else’s dog. I hope that none of you reading this are ever faced with that.

I live in the city of Woodstock, and a couple of weeks ago, my dogs were in the yard with their shock collars on and someone shot two of them with a pellet gun. Shortly after, the youngest bled to death, the older dog developed infection that we did not discover until a few days later from where the pellet entered his skin. His hair is long, so we did not discover the injury right away. He seemed scared and did not want us touching him but we did not know why.

According to Virginia law, you cannot shoot someone else’s dog even if they are in your yard for just being a nuisance. The dog has to be deemed dangerous and a threat to others. Even if the dog is considered dangerous and is in someone’s yard you cannot shoot him. This crime was a violation on several levels.

Now let’s stop talking about the legal issues and start talking about the lasting ones. Our family members are saddened and devastated by this senseless killing. The surviving dog is emotionally damaged. I hope this letter will let people know that these problems exist, and if you are unfortunate enough to be a witness to something like this, please do the right thing and turn these people in.

Crystal Brinkley, Woodstock