Woman says her dogs were never vicious

A Havelock woman says her neighbor wasn’t justified in shooting and killing one of her dogs on New Year’s Eve.

Merissa Garces, 24, of 115 Jer Mar Drive, said her dogs have never been vicious and that Joshua Caleb Cannon, 28, of 113 Jer Mar Drive, was wrong to have shot one of them.

“Two of my dogs are service dogs,” Garces told the Havelock News Wednesday. “The one that he (Cannon) shot was actually my son’s dog. I have a 1-year-old son. If my dogs had been vicious, I never would have allowed them around my son.”

Cannon has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within the city limits, according to Havelock police.

Police Chief David Magnusson said that Cannon was in his back yard with his 3-year-old child shortly after noon on Dec. 31 when he told police that one of Garces’ pit bulls was attempting to jump over the fence and was hanging on the fence. Magnusson said Cannon pulled out a .40-caliber gun and shot the dog once. Cannon then called 9-1-1 to report the incident.

Garces said the dog died. She said she has had many gatherings at her home, and the dogs behaved well.

“People come over and have no issues with my dogs,” Garces said.

Magnusson said animal control had responded one week before the incident to a report that Garces’ dogs had gotten out of the yard. He said though the dogs had gotten out, they did not fight with any other dogs and did not bite any person, and that nothing would constitute that the dogs were dangerous or vicious. Garces was given a written warning about keeping her dogs in her yard.

“This man never once spoke to me about my dogs,” Garces said of Cannon. “Never did he ever come to my house. Every time I saw him, he waved at me like nothing was a problem.”

Garces said the dog that was shot was a 4-year-old named Bear. She was at home at the time of the shooting and believes Cannon could have contacted her instead of shooting the dog.

“I don’t feel that he made the correct choice,” Garces said.

The Havelock News also reached out to Cannon. A family member said their attorney informed them not to comment to the news media.