Statute of limitations passes for dog slaying
Boxx: ‘A decision to not file charges was previously made’
The statute of limitations has passed for criminal charges to be filed for the deaths of three labradors who were allegedly shot to death and mutilated in Eagle Rock on March 13, 2018.
Amy Boxx, Barry County prosecutor, confirmed the one-year time period to file a charge ran out on March 12.
“A decision to not file charges was previously made,” she said.
Dani and Sam Johnson, owners of the two black labs, Gus, 7, and Tug, 11 months, as well a yellow lab, Kaycee, 3, declined comment, saying they have sought legal representation moving forward.
According to reports and photographs taken at the scene, the three dogs were found shot to death on the property of Paradise Cove Camping Resort, with their collars removed and one of the animals, Gus, subjected to multiple gunshot wounds to the gut and genitals.
Probable cause statements were filed with Boxx’s office on March 26, one seeking a felony charge and another seeking a misdemeanor charge. An incident report with the Barry County Sheriff’s Office listed possible offenses as animal abuse and animal abuse or torture or mutilation while animal was alive.
The incident led to a measured response from the local community, nationwide and internationally. Eight protests were held in Barry County after the probable cause statements were filed, including at the Barry County Courthouse, Barry County Judicial Center, at the entrance to Paradise Cove Camping Resort and in Golden.
A petition on thepetitionsite.org garnered 159,325 supporters spanning Missouri, the United States and internationally.
The Johnsons also went to the Missouri State Capitol building to attend “Humane Day” and to speak with local state legislators, who said at the time they expected charges to be filed.
Boxx released a statement one month after the incident, saying, “The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is well aware of the public attention being generated by the events of March 13. However, prosecutorial ethics, longstanding policy and best legal practice mandate that no discussion be had concerning that or any matter pending determination of charges, if any.”
Two GoFundMe campaigns were also set up for the Johnsons to obtain funds for legal fees. Johnson said one campaign resulted in the creator taking off with the funds, and the other raised a few hundred dollars that is being used by the Johnsons.
Four months after the incident, Shane Rudman, founder of the Animal Justice League of America (AJLA), became involved in the case, speaking to the alleged shooters and trying to broker a deal between them and the Johnsons. The agreement would have called for the shooters to accept responsibility, plead to a felony charge and lose the right to carry a weapon, pay financial restitution to the Johnsons and admit to any other alleged dog killings in the area in exchange for the Johnsons agreeing to not file any lawsuit and call for calm from the public and an end to harassment of the accused.
Rudman said he is still working on the case, but has been busy with other AJLA cases in Missouri and Ohio. One case near Kansas City has resulted in a letter of endorsement from Tim Thompson, Saline County prosecutor, who said he is encouraging all prosecutors in the state of Missouri to openly work with AJLA on any animal-related cases.
“Until we tell the world we are done [working in Barry County], we are not done,” Rudman said. “I plan to use my endorsement from Tim to hopefully meet with Boxx soon, and we are not going away.