Weatherford Democrat

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June 11, 2012

Felony charges stem from shooting neighbor's dog

PARKER COUNTY — A Springtown area woman was arrested Monday on three felony charges after she reportedly shot and killed her neighbor’s dog last month, an incident preceded by years of complaints involving her neighbors.

Fifty-one-year-old Elizabeth Day Wesley, of Shady Hill Lane, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, deadly conduct with a firearm and cruelty to non-livestock animals, all regarding an incident where she admitted to shooting her neighbor’s pit bull, a dog she believes attacked her cow earlier that day.

Wesley, who turned herself in Monday to the Parker County Jail, was released the following day on $25,000 bond.

Her mother had recently died, dogs had attacked her animals for years and she’d long been complaining of harassment by her neighbors, when, Wesley said, she “snapped” on May 10 after hearing from another neighbor that dogs were chasing her cow.

She drove by her neighbor’s house the first time and saw the gate open but no black and white pit bull. The second time she drove by, she parked along the road and shot at the dog, now in the fenced yard with the gate closed.

Her neighbor came out and fired three pistol shots in her direction, she said.  

She denied an allegation that she shot a round through her neighbor’s house.

Parker County Sheriff’s deputies, responding to the 500 block of Shady Hill Lane in reference to a shots fired call, met with her neighbor, who reported that Wesley had shot his pit bull while it was in his yard behind a fence and that he’d had to put “Sarge” down because the dog was suffering from what he believed to be a gunshot wound to the chest.

The neighbor reportedly told deputies that he’d discovered what appeared to be a spent round lying on his bed and a hole in the outside wall of the residence.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Wesley admitted to shooting the pit bull with a .410 shotgun from her vehicle, parked across the street.

Parker County Sheriff’s investigator Louis Sherman wrote that he viewed the area where the pit bull was shot and where Wesley said she was shooting from and found that she was not only shooting from the roadway, she was shooting in the direction of the residence.

The spent round reportedly recovered from the residence, compared with the one provided by Wesley, appeared to be the same type and kind, Sherman wrote.

Wesley denies that part, though.

“I did not shoot at his house,” Wesley said. She said she shot buckshot into the dirt at the dog. The house was up a hill and to the right, she said.

“My mother had just died,” Wesley said. “I just lost it.”

Dogs had attacked her animals, including her cows and hogs, for eight years, according to Wesley.

Wesley described herself as an animal lover, taking in strays and a three-legged goat because she thought she could help the animal.

She used to breed and sell dogs and, at one point, had cattle, including longhorns, on the ranch.

However, the dog attacks had reached a point where she said she couldn’t let her animals graze in the pasture but had to bale the hay and bring it to the animals in the front of the house.

She also had a rocky relationship with the neighbors at that residence, beginning when the Wesleys began fencing their property and would come out to find the fence pushed down, according to Wesley.

They’ve trespassed on her property, harassed Wesley’s family and have been allowed to shoot guns on their property despite deed restrictions, according to Wesley.

The Parker County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they responded to 29 calls from Wesley since 2003.

Some were regarding domestic disturbances. Many others involved her neighbors, including calls regarding loud music and yelling, shooting and trespassing.

In October 2011, she told a deputy she thought the neighbors were shooting toward her house, though the deputy found her neighbors were “shooting in a safe manner.”

In November 2010, Wesley reported she thought she heard her neighbor shooting an automatic firearm. The deputy found they were shooting in a recreational manner and informed them they were shooting against county ordinance based on the small acreage.

Earlier in November 2010, Wesley called reporting her neighbors had grazed her and her horses with buckshot. However, according to Parker County records, Wesley reported she had no pain or discomfort , the deputy found the target in the opposite direction from Wesley’s house and the neighbor told the deputy they were done shooting for the day.

In January 2009, Wesley reported her neighbors trespassing on her property but the call was canceled.

In October 2008, deputies responded to a call in reference to a disturbance with her neighbors in the pasture with a cow.

Earlier in 2008, she reported she believed her neighbors were throwing trash over the fence.

“They’ve never done anything to my neighbors,” Wesley said.

Because she reportedly admitted to the investigator that she had shot the dog from the roadway and was a convicted felon, Wesley was also charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm at a location other than her residence.

Wesley, who was convicted in 1998 of engaging in organized criminal activity, said she’s pulled her life together since getting mixed up with the wrong people and serving her time. She said she’s got a family now, runs a business, has volunteered for years and is a member of a local community organization.

The Democrat was unable to reach the neighbor for comment.

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