Jefferson County man accused of fatally shooting neighbor’s Great Dane

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A man who said he fired a shot at his neighbor’s dog because he thought it was going to his attack his girlfriend is facing charges of animal cruelty and prohibited use of a weapon, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said.

Russell Andrews told investigators he fired one shot at two Great Danes on his property that were growling at his girlfriend, Melody Ludwig, the sheriff’s office said.

Andrews told investigators the dogs had previously killed his partner’s poodle, but that was never reported.

Andrews said he was just trying to scare off the dogs when he fired the rifle, but then he heard one of them yelp.

After Ludwig was safely inside, Andrews said he went to tell his neighbor, James Chambers, that he might have killed one of his dogs.

Andrews’ and Chambers’ properties are about a half-mile apart on North Trail Circle, about 11 miles southeast of Conifer.

After Andrews went back to his cabin, Chambers showed up and threatened to kill him, according to the report.

Ludwig told deputies that Chambers was “shouting and flailing his arms and getting in [Andrews’] face.” She said Chambers threatened to shoot Andrews “right between his eyes.”

Investigators believe the dog was shot about 50 yards from the door of the cabin.

Deputies found the 9-year-old dog, Lexi, about 150 yards from the cabin. According to the report, it had been shot in its torso, near its back bone.

The dog belonged to Chambers’ friend, Joan Brown, who told deputies she rescues Great Danes and described Lexi as a “sweetheart” who would never growl at anyone.

Deputies told Brown and Chambers to stay away from Russell and issued Russell a summons for prohibited use of a weapon and cruelty to animals.

Investigators said it appeared Russell “fired a shot in a direction where there was no backstop and no way of knowing where a round could go because the property starts going downhill.”

Deputies said the gun was placed in evidence and would remain there until the case is resolved.