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Kent man charged with animal cruelty for shooting dachshund in leg

A 49-year-old Kent man has been charged with first-degree animal cruelty by King County prosecutors for allegedly shooting a neighbor's dachshund in the leg with a pellet gun for reportedly "crapping" on his property.

Prosecutors charged Steven William Cole on Monday after an investigation of the March 31 incident by a Regional Animal Services of King County officer.

Court records list the Kent School District as Cole's employer. Cole works for the district as a painter with the maintenance department, said Chris Loftis, school district spokesman.

Cole is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, May 24 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. A summons was issued directing Cole to appear in court. Cole has no known criminal history, according to charging papers.

The incident occurred in the 29800 block of 159th Lane Southeast in unincorporated Kent, south of Covington.

A neighbor of Cole's reported to the King County Sheriff's Office that Cole shot her dog Zeus, a 7-year-old dachshund, as she and her children were planting a tree in their front yard, according to charging papers.

The woman told a deputy she heard a pop and then heard her dog yelp. She said her dog was about 2 feet off the easement that separates her property from Cole's. She looked toward Cole's house and saw him in a front window laughing.

She took the dog to the Sumner Animal Hospital where an X-ray showed a pellet had entered the dog's leg and fractured it in several places. The vet removed the pellet and put the leg in a cast.

Cole admitted to the deputy to owning a high-powered pellet rifle with a scope that he used to shoot rabbits on his property. He said he saw the dog "crapping" on his property and admitted to shooting the dog. He said he was tired of asking his neighbors to keep the dog off of his property. He admitted to aiming for the dog's body when he shot it.

The woman told an animal control officer that she has had dog issues in the past with Cole.

Cole remains employed by the school district.

"For incidents and accusations of wrongdoing outside job responsibilities and off district property there is a test under Washington law to determine whether the alleged misconduct of school staff not related to their duties impacts their ability to effectively and safely serve students and the public," said Loftis, the school district spokesman, in an email. "If such a determination is made, then the district would take appropriate administrative steps. At this point, that process has not been initiated and we are assuming the staff person will continue to work while his legal challenges move through the court system."

Loftis said citizens are presumed innocent until proven guilty and "facts proven during the court process and/or the eventual resolution of the case will help us determine if any further action is needed from the district."

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