A McKean man faces nine felon charges for allegedly shooting nine dogs, seven of them fatally, in a rural area west of Springboro last month.
Skyler James Martin, 21, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Samuel Pendolino on Friday. He was transported to Crawford County jail in Saegertown following the arraignment in lieu of $30,000 bond.
The nine German shepherds, ranging in age from 8 months to 5 years, were found June 26 at a residence in the 25000 block of Reeds Corners Road when family members who owned the dogs returned from vacation after having left them in the care of a friend , according to the probable cause affidavit filed by animal cruelty officials in the case.
When Association for Needy and Neglected Animals (ANNA) Shelter Animal Cruelty Officer Eric Duckett investigated the scene June 28, he found multiple shell casings.
“It’s a pretty heinous act that we’re dealing with, and I would hope that if anybody has any information that they would want to get this person off the streets,” Duckett told the Tribune in a June 29 interview.
Several days later, an anonymous caller led Duckett to a man who said Martin had been living in his residence and had asked to borrow the man’s Glock 17 9mm pistol on June 24, according to the affidavit. When Martin returned the gun, he allegedly told several people in the residence that he had shot “a bunch of dogs with it,” according to the affidavit.
The investigation also revealed multiple text messages between Martin and the man in which Martin allegedly asks the man to “get rid of your gun and hand them mine” so that ballistics evidence “would cross me off the list” of suspects, according to the affidavit .
The ANNA Shelter on Friday trumpeted the news of an arrest on its Facebook page.
“It’s been a LONG, busy and stressful week and a half but we are happy to let everyone know CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED,” the post read in part.
Both of the surviving dogs were triaged and stabilized in Erie after they were found, but one suffered more significant injuries and was taken to a critical care specialist veterinarian in Pittsburgh for further treatment. The latter dog had three bullets in his body, located in the shoulder, hip and jaw, and will be undergoing emergency surgery.
The shelter’s Facebook post also included photos of the two surviving dogs. The dogs — “Honey” and “Trooper” — are with foster care givers “as they work their way down the long road of recovery,” according to the post.
Martin faces nine third degree felony charges of aggravated cruelty to animals. A preliminary hearing in the case was scheduled for July 22 before Magisterial District Judge Adam Stallard.