CLAREMONT – A local man who shot a dog in Monadnock Park May 26 will not be charged, according to a press release from the Sullivan County Attorney’s office.
Jeremy T. Connair claimed he was afraid of the dog, Gunner, a two-year-old mastiff/boxer mix owned by Taysa Combs. Connair was carrying a pistol in the pocket of his cargo pants and had gone to the park with his girlfriend to play tennis.
Combs was exercising Gunner in the fenced-in tennis courts that Sunday evening because, she said in a statement, she didn’t trust the dog off leash. As Connair approached the tennis court she called to him to wait so she could put Gunner on a leash, but the gate was not latched securely and Gunner pushed through it.
According to a timeline County Attorney Marc Hathaway constructed after speaking to the parties, Gunner then went toward Connair barking and Connair retreated.
Combs yelled to Connair that Gunner was friendly and told Connair not to run, as Gunner would think he was inviting him to play.
Connair viewed Gunner’s behavior as aggressive. He took the pistol out of his pocket and pointed it at Gunner; Combs yelled at him not to shoot.
Connair retreated and fired one shot at the dog from a distance of approximately 6 feet.
“Mr. Connair’s fear that he was going to be attacked was reasonable,” Hathaway concluded. “He was reasonable, given Gunner’s proximity, in believing the attack was imminent and the shot was necessary to end the threat and prevent an attack.”
Connair left the park and called the police after the shooting; Claremont police also arrived at the park shortly after the incident.
The bullet damaged Gunner’s shoulder. A friend of Combs started a GofundMe page to help pay for the dog’s surgery, estimated at $4,000; the campaign has so far raised $2,430.