A local high school student has been arrested and charged in the shooting death of a neighbor’s dog in an act that his family says was self-defense.
Phillip Stout, a rising senior at Whitewater High, is accused of shooting and killing the dog with a pellet rifle, but his father disputes accounts of the incident and says the dog was acting aggressively.
On Tuesday, June 5 around 2:42 p.m., officers with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home at 535 Emerald Lake Drive in the county in reference to someone killing the resident’s dog.
The resident’s dog, a 7-year-old rescue named Reese, was dead on the back deck with a bullet hole in its chest.
The deck was surrounded by a gate which had a broken picket, but the resident said she blocked the gate with flower pots to keep the dog inside. Officers noted the deck had visible drag stains indicating the pots had recently been moved.
The officer found no evidence of blood on the steps up to the back deck or surrounding area, leading the officer to determine that the person who shot the dog had been standing on the stairs or near the gate of the deck.
One neighborhood witness approached the officer and notified him that he had previously seen a neighbor’s children shooting at birds with a pellet rifle.
About an hour earlier, animal control had received an animal complaint call that a dog was barking and chasing kids at another home on Emerald Lake Drive. The animal control officer responded to the call, but was not able to locate the dog in the area. He was told that the dog had been seen running across the street. No one responded when he knocked on the door and he left the residence. He did not enter the back yard.
Upon deploying a bloodhound, officers encountered Phillip Stout’s father, Elmer Timothy Stout, who told officers that he was the one who had called animal control around 1:30 p.m. because the dog came into his yard and was acting aggressively and barking at his kids.
Officers viewed security footage from the Stout home that shows children walking across the front yard towards the victim’s residence. One of the children is seen holding a gun. Stout identified his son, Phillip, as the one with the gun. Soon after, the footage showed Phillip running back with a stick in his hand.
Officers told Phillip’s father that the dog was shot inside a contained backyard. He maintained that his kids were “standing guard.” According to the report, he told the officer that Phillip shot the dog before animal control arrived, saying, “The dog was being aggressive, and he shot it in our yard.”
A pellet rifle was turned over to officers, and Phillip Stout was charged with Cruelty to Animals.