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Valley News – Man named in fatal Tunbridge dog shooting suspended from role as animal control officer in Sharon

Published: 05/16/2022 21:51:56

Modified: 05/16/2022 21:50:10

SHARON – The man accused of fatally shooting a family’s pet dog in Tunbridge has been suspended without pay from his part-time job as an animal control officer in Sharon.

Damon Dyer, 31, of Tunbridge, is set to stand trial for animal cruelty in Orange Superior Court on June 29 following an investigation by the Vermont Warden Service into the April shooting death of an 11 year old German Shepherd.

At a special meeting of the Sharon Selectboard on Friday, members met in executive session and then voted unanimously to suspend Dyer without pay in accordance with city personnel policy.

The board was due to reconvene on Monday evening, and another closed session was scheduled, “regarding the evaluation or discipline of a named employee”.

It was unclear if the executive session had anything to do with Dyer. The council invited Deb Jones, Sharon’s chief financial officer who manages the city’s human resources, to attend.

Reached by telephone on Monday, Jones said she could not discuss Dyer’s case, but she pointed to the section of personnel policy cited by the Selectboard when she was suspended.

Policy Section 8.1.12: “Conduct that impairs the efficiency and effectiveness of municipal government or that could create public suspicion of an employee’s professionalism.

“It has more to do with the extent to which the ride relates to one’s position,” Jones said.

She said Dyer was appointed in mid-March to animal control officer, a part-time, on-call position that pays $30 an hour.

Jones said the job did not require the employee to live in town and Jones said no one in Sharon showed up when the position was advertised.

Owner Steve Mortillo said the German Shepherd named Scout was last seen on April 20 when he was released and has not returned.

Mortillo found Scout’s body on April 23 about 400 yards from his Russel Road home on a pile of cattle carcasses.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Jeff Whipple, who covers the Fairlee area for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, said Monday that much of the social media debate about the incident has been off the mark.

Whipple, who led the investigation, said the shooting was not a malicious act, but neither was it a clearly defensible action to protect the herd on the farm where Dyer works in as manager of the farm adjacent to the dog house.

Some have claimed the dog was shot while chasing livestock, but in reality the dog was shot while sniffing around a pile of animal carcasses several hundred yards from the livestock, which had been set up in the barn before Dyer crossed the field and fired. the dog.

“When the dog was put down, she wasn’t harassing anything,” Whipple said. “The dog had very bad hip dysplasia and was a senior dog. She was sniffing around a pile of carcasses.

Scout was not wearing a collar and was on the pile of carcasses where coyotes had been shot in the past. Whipple estimated the shot to be around 125 yards or so.

Whipple said the charge was a misdemeanor and that Dyer took responsibility for it and felt remorse.

Darren Marcy can be reached at dmarcy@vnews.com or 802-291-4992.

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