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New charge against Marne man for shooting dog

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UPDATED: A man accused of shooting and killing the dog of a woman with ties to the Quad Cities is facing a new animal abuse charge.

Upon investigation, authorities with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office charged Cutler for Animal Abuse (Aggravated Misdemeanor) on Wednesday. Authorities have already cited Cutler for Reckless Use of a Firearm in town.

Police say Cutler shot Stacey Ernat’s dog Wrigley, a one-year-old chocolate lab, as he was playing with a relative’s dog in the church lot adjacent to the residence of Charles Cutler. The lab’s owner, Stacy Ernat and her relatives watched Cutler shoot the dog with a shotgun from a distance of 30-40 feet away. The lab was taken to a local vet center, but died hours later.

Police say Cutler admitted he shot the dog “because he didn’t want it in his yard”.

Cutler will be in court on January 17th, 2013.

Original Story

A Quad Cities woman spent Christmas without her best friend, after a Cass County man shot her dog.

The dog, a 1-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever named Wrigley, belonged to Stacey Ernat. Ernat was heading home for Christmas in the Quad Cities from Denver, where she teaches third grade. She stopped in Marne, Iowa on Christmas Eve to see a friend during the drive.

Wrigley, along with another dog, was playing in the snow in a nearby church yard when a neighbor came out of his house with a shotgun and killed Wrigley.

Wrigley’s owner Stacey Ernat says, “She was curled up in a ball, really scared and confused why she was hurt so bad, so I picked her up and I held her an I told her it was gonna be OK. I just wish he would have thought about what he would have did because I wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be heartbroken without my best friend.”

Ernat took Wrigley to the vet’s office where she died a few hours later.

The other dog was uninjured and several people were outside with the dogs at the time, according to The Des Moines Register.

Police say Collins Cutler admitted to shooting Wrigley because, he says, he didn’t want the dog playing in his yard. Cutler was ticketed for discharging a firearm within city limits and is scheduled to appear in court next month. Possible future charges are pending.

According to The Des Moines Register, Ernat is driving the dog home Wednesday to be buried in her hometown of Coal Valley, Illinois.

Thank you to our sister station WHO-TV for contributing to this report.