Early this week, Donald Savino, 73, lifted his high-powered air rifle to his shoulder, aimed it out his window, sighted it on a nine-pound Maltese smelling a tree in his yard, and pulled the trigger, firing two pellets into the dog. The dog screamed and hobbled back to his home and his distraught owner, Marco Lopez, according to the New York Daily News.
“He was smelling a tree,” said Lopez. “Suddenly, I hear this noise …. I hear my dog cry — he was screaming in pain.”
Lopez looked inside his neighbor’s house and saw Savino at the window.
“I said, ‘Why did you shoot my dog?'” Lopez said. “But he wouldn’t come out.”
Lopez rushed the eight-year-old dog, named Spike, to the vet, but the wounds were too serious. According to PIX11, the dog had severe internal bleeding. He was put to sleep a few hours later as Lopez broke down next to him.
“I touched his head and said, ‘You’re not coming home, baby, you’re going to stay here tonight,'” said Lopez. “I tried to explain to him, but he was in pain.”
Savino was arrested shortly thereafter. Inside his home, investigators found a Crossman .22-caliber Magnum. He’s being charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and criminal mischief, and is due back in court on June 12.
“Okay, I did it,” he told authorities. “I didn’t mean to kill the dog. I just wanted to shoot it in the butt and scare him.”
On Savino’s yard is a sign that reads, “Keep your dog off the grass.”
Shockingly, it wasn’t the first time the dog had been shot. The Lopez family said that Spike had been shot by a pellet gun before — the pellet remained lodged in one of his legs — but they didn’t know who did it. Now, they think they do: Donald Savino.
“It is obvious that he is the one that did it the first time,” said Lopez.
Initially, Lopez was not going to press charges. But after thinking over all that had happened, he decided to act.
“By doing this, hopefully he learns a lesson,” Lopez said.