A Bloomingdale man was arrested on animal cruelty charges Saturday after he shot two dogs with a crossbow, killing one dog and seriously injuring the other.
Duane Jay Gilchrist, 54, came across the two dogs as he walked the Roebling Road hunting trail, according to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office. Gilchrist told investigators the dogs were a threat.
“He said that they were menacing,” said ECSO Chief Investigator Sgt. Don White. “He shot one dog. As the other dog was standing over the dead dog, he reloaded and shot the second dog.”
However, White said, Gilchrist told deputies the dogs were approximately 40 yards from him when he shot them with his crossbow.
“If they’re 40 yards away, there’s nothing there really menacing,” White said. “Your self-defense claim kind of goes out the window at that point.”
The first dog died instantly and the second dog “was able to run away with a crossbow bolt in his chest,” White said. The family that owns the dogs lives nearby and found the injured animal.
The full-blooded Labrador suffered two broken ribs, a punctured lung and a puncture to his abdomen, according to online posts by the family. The dog is now breathing on his own, eating soft food and wagging his tail after being treated by a veterinary surgeon, the family posted.
A page has been set up on the fundraising site GoFundMe.com to help the family pay the veterinary bills. Visit www.gofundme.com/iwr5r8.
Gilchrist was charged with two counts of cruelty to animals. His bond was set at $4,600 and he was released from the Effingham County Jail after four days, according to the ECSO’s Web site.