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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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2/14/2012 9:43:00 AM
Dog's alleged shooter identified; animal cruelty charges sought
Mark Donald Arneson
Mark Donald Arneson

COTTONWOOD -- Cottonwood police have identified a suspect and requested charges of facilitation of animal cruelty against 46-year-old Mark Donald Arneson of Cottonwood.

On Dec. 30, an adult white male pit bull with black freckled ears -- dubbed "Buddy" -- was found on an off-road ATV trail off Old Highway 279, about three-quarters of a mile south of the intersection of Ogden Ranch Road. A passerby initially found the dog sitting motionless near a bush, and then realized the animal was injured. The dog was still alive after suffering two gunshots to the head. The passerby took "Buddy" to a nearby veterinarian hospital for treatment. He was given pain medication and stabilized throughout the weekend but he did not survive his injuries.

During the investigation, "Buddy" was actually determined to be named "Homer." The dog lived at a home in the 2700 block of South Cliff View Drive, in Cottonwood. In the weeks and days leading up to his death, Homer had become unusually aggressive toward other pets and children in the home. On the day he was found with gunshot wounds, he was believed to be going to a new home in Phoenix.

Through tips to the police, Mark Donald Arneson was identified as the dog's original owner and subsequently interviewed in connection to this case. "This case would not have been solved if not for the public's help," said Cottonwood Police Department spokesman Sergeant Gareth Braxton-Johnson. "In addition, the Red Rose Inspiration for Animals Foundation, a Sedona-based animal rescue organization, played an integral part in this investigation. This incident was unfortunate in so many ways. There were a number of different alternatives that were available."

Taylor Waste
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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dog bites granddaughter, dog next day goes after granddaughter again, dog is put outside and goes after other family pets (dogs), dog must be put down, choose to shoot him, for whatever reason (financial, preferred choice of euthanasia, etc,), okay, Take dog out to desert shoot him in head twice, don't check to confirm death, don't dispose of remains, leave dog to suffer in desert alone for 2 days, make this suffering dog's care an innocent by passer's, and then the community's responsibility, not okay. What, if any punishment is correct for such a abysmal lack of judgment and outright disregard of their responsibility, only a judge can decide.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: sammy macduff

Thank you for your research, "Maybe not", however, acording to county animal control, the law states a person has to put their dog down humanely. For those people who want to make a difference, you may consider donating money to a spay and neuter program through Red Rose Inspiration for Animals or Morning Star Animal Sancuary. You can specify that you want the funds to go for the spay or neuter of a dog for famlies in need and the funds HAVE to be used for that purpose. You can even specify the funds need to go toward the spay or neuter of a pitt bull. HSS has a low cost spay and neuter program. One female and her offspring can produce up to 60,000 dogs in 7-8 years. This number varies, depending on the site you research. My info comes from the ASPCA website.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: ~Maybe Not~

This subject has created quite a difference of opinion. Alot of people are saying that this man had no reason at all to do this and that he is just horrible to do such a thing when there are so many options availble to him. Personly, I belive that it was not only his right, but possibly his reponsiblity,to put down his animal, but I thought I should educate myself on the options. Here's what I found out. The Adopt for life Center might take a dog I couldn't care for, for a $20 surrender fee, IF the dog was adoptable and they had room. There is usually a 2+ week waiting list and if the dog is agressive they won't take it. If a dog is agressive around my kids, I want it gone Today! They will not euthanize it for me either, and I was advised to call a vet. The office I called informed me that to put an animal down, it would cost $60+ and cremation was extra, by the pound. There are some options, but possibly not affordable ones for some families. If a dog of any breed is becoming agressive or dangerous, it needs to be removed for safetys sake. It is the responsiblity of the head of household to protect thier families from threats. Cruelty is unacceptable, but responsibilty should not be. I hope the right people ask the right questions and that this man is treated fairly.

Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Article comment by: sammy macduff

Sadly, some animals have negative emotional issues, but this is not just a pitt bull problem. It can hapen to any animal. At no cost to this owner, animal control would have picked up poor Homer and had him evaluated at the local animal shelter.If he, infact, had aggressive behavior, they would have kindly ended his life, but instead the owner made the decision to mame him and leave Homer in horrible pain for several days before he died. There was absolutely no reason for this man to do this horrible thing to Homer. As for those of you who agree with this treatment of ANY living being, you should consider seeking psychological help.

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Article comment by: Derek Sailors

So glad to see someone caught for this crime. Personally, I wasn't a big fan of pit bull terriors until I found out how all of the "Michael Vick" dogs were rehabilitated in good homes. I feel it is inhumane to shoot a dog and leave him to die, blinded, wounded, scared in the cold and can't believe some of the stuff I've read on here. This dog just needed a good home and for someone to show it love and attention. While I understand one's fear of this breed around young children, there are agencies in place to handle matters such as this one. Let justice be served. RIP Buddy.

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Article comment by: higher conscience

Agree much hypocracy over outrage at killing of a dog while the systematic slaughter of animals for food is aok. Both acts are abhorrant to those of higher conscience. Some just go along with animals for food cause that's all they know since childhood, and others that and they can rationalize anything if the good book says aok.

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Article comment by: Rosella Calistro

Poor "Homer"...........he was being aggresive to others for a reason! Was he being abused himself? Dogs are only agressive if they are mistreated!! This guy needs to pay for what he's done to this poor dog!! If you choose to have pets-you choose to love them & nurture them just as you would your children-not take them out & shoot them when they misbehave!!!

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Article comment by: Oh Please

Michele, what I said was that dogs do not deserve HUMAN rights--because they are dogs NOT humans. Do you see what I am saying here? Dogs are NOT the same as people. Period.

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Article comment by: @ Michele

Some dogs also eat thier own feces. I've never met a dog that won't eat out of the litterbox with enthusiasm. I am a 'higher' being. No Doubt About It!
Formerly Appalled-I am with you 100%. Thank you for using the reasoning powers granted to us 'higher' beings!

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Article comment by: Wisewell 50

I wholeheartedly agree with Man Up and Oh Please. It is sickening to see all the misguided and sometimes hypocritical to-do over animal rights. It is hard to kill a family pet that has turned agressive or suffers in pain due to old age. But animal life is not on the same scale as human life there is no comparison. Let Mr. Arneson get on with his life and why don't you moaners and groaners just get on with yours while you pay the fast food companies and supermarkets to murder (in your eyes, anyway) cattle with those big brown eyes and chickens who are so helpless and beautiful turkeys and mother pigs and father pigs and so forth FOR YOU so you can eat them. Maybe you need to complain to God because he approved the slaughter of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep for sacrifice by ancient king Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:5). Get a life!

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Article comment by: Michele Renee

This goes out to whomever the sad excuse for a human being said dogs don't deserve rights. It's unfeeling "people" like you who have a much higher percentage of commiting a violent act of any kind against human beings than any dog.

As a whole dogs have the very traits we as supposedly "higher" beings are supposed to have. They are loyal, give us unconditional love and are forgiving,

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

.I can't condone what happened as
I don't have the facts.
I personally put a dog down as it was injured
and suffering.It was necessary but it stays with
If you think a pet is property (under the law it is)
then build a house on it.I fully understand when
your pet is a threat to others you personally put
it down.Thats just the way it's always been.
Back in the day an exhaust pipe was the way
it was done.

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Article comment by: Formerly Appalled

When I first read about this in the paper, I was mortified. I couldn't even imagine why anyone would, or how they could do something like that. But after showing a friend this article and reading some of the comments, I've put a picture together of how this might have come to pass. Perhaps this dog encountered something traumatic and became aggressive at home. What if it tried to fight his other pets? Maybe it bit his child! In this case, being put down is the accepted course of action. Maybe this guy struggles every day (like I do) to take care of his family. $40 could be the difference between having food for the week or not. Maybe he was attached to this animal too, and having to put it down on his own was traumatic for him. I'd bet that 2 shots to the head knocked it out and he probably thought the animal was dead. It is his mistake for not taking care of the body and not making sure the lights were out when he was done. But I don't believe he should be charged with anything involving cruelty unless it is determined that he was intentionally being cruel.

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Article comment by: Emma Goldman

Non-human animals are protected under the law. Arneson committed a crime. He should be punished.

I can fully understand why some of you don't attach your names to your responses. Thanks to those of you that provided information on this crime.

Buddy, no one can hurt now. Rest in peace

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Article comment by: @ Oh My Gosh!

I DARE to say it beacuse it is true. Are you on drugs? Do you think because you grew up on a farm everyone else did? Are you aware that "I took the dog to a farm to live" is a stereotypical statement made to the kids in the house where the dog disappears from? When my dog was 'taken to a farm' it meant that my dad dumped it in a dry riverbed not far from our house-I found this out as an adult. The dog would have been better off with a bullet between its eyes honestly. I am really glad for you that your childhood pets were that important to your family. Accept that not everyone feels that way.

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