ST. GEORGE, Utah -- A Utah family is grieving after a neighbor allegedly killed their dog after it ran onto his property.
The dog's owner, Nancy Limburg, told KSTU her neighbor used gardening sheers to hit their 2-pound Yorkshire terrier.
Limburg said not only did her neighbor kill the dog, but he did it in front of her 12-year-old daughter, who was with their dog outside moments before.
Chewy had been a beloved family pet, until Friday afternoon when Limburg let Chewy out front with her 12-year-old daughter Hailey watching him.
“The next thing I know Hailey come running in, yelling ‘The neighbor just killed Chewy, the neighbor just killed Chewy,’” Limburg said.
Limburg, her 18-year-old daughter and her younger daughter ran outside.
“I was just asking him ‘Why did you kill my dog? What did he do that was such a huge threat that you needed to kill him?’ He turned and pointed to his vinyl fence behind him and said he was worried for the safety of his dogs and I said 'Your dogs are behind the fence',” Limburg said.
The neighbor, according to Limburg, started accusing her daughter Hailey of making Chewy run onto his property.
“He started blaming my younger daughter Hailey. He was so mad and, for him to say those things about my daughter with that weapon (the pruning sheers) in his hand, that's the reason I started taking pictures," Limburg said.
Limburg took pictures of her neighbor holding the sheers and of her dead dog bleeding on the ground.
St. George police officers arrived later that afternoon and interviewed Limburg’s family and the neighbor.
Officers did not arrest the neighbor, but a news release indicated they are continuing to investigate.
"The St. George Police Department does feel that this incident is significant and has had a significant impact on the children and family who own the dog. Our goal is to fully and effectively investigate ALL aspects of this incident to determine what legal options for criminal charges we have and then to proceed with the most appropriate and effective option. We understand, with the emotions involved, how it might seem that the 'police are doing nothing about it,' but that is not the case. We are trying to do the RIGHT thing to address this situation," the news release said.
Chewy had even been "debarked," so he wasn’t making any loud noises, but Chewy did run onto their neighbor’s property. According to Limburg, the neighbor’s two dogs were barking and that is why Chewy ran across the street to the neighbor’s house.
Deann Shepherd, Director of Marketing and Communications for The Humane Society of Utah, said she feels for the family.
“This is a deplorable situation. There should have been another situation to handle a two pound dog coming at you,” said Shepherd.
She also said St. George police were right in not making any arrests and applauded their action. She said Utah law states dogs are property, and because this was not torture, it was not a felony.
However if convicted, the neighbor could face a class A misdemeanor, at worst, one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
“We do applaud the St. George Police Department for looking into this and doing their due diligence to investigate this case. In the past it unfortunately could have been just brushed aside. We do hope that full charges are brought against this assailant when the investigation closes," Shepherd said.
In the meantime, Limburg said she is scared to be at home with her two daughters, with their alleged violent neighbor living in the same cul-de-sac. They have posted pictures of a burial for Chewy and now hope justice is served.
“He was our family dog. As little as he was, he knew he was loved and we are going to miss him," Limburg said.