Man says he shot dogs to protect his - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Man says he shot dogs to protect his

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) -

A Fitzgerald man, who shot two of his neighbors dogs, says he did it to protect his own. Jerime Niles Bell's Chihuahua escaped from his leash two dogs attacked it.

Bell opened fire and killed one of those dogs and wounded the other. He's charged with  cruelty to a child for shooting the dogs in front of the owner's five year old child.

 Bell was released on bond, and says he wishes this incident had never happened. He didn't want to shoot the dogs, but says it was the only way he could save his own pet.

William Paulk describes his neighbor Jerime Bell, as a good neighbor who loves animals. "He is not a violent type person, he's always been a good neighbor."

"I'm not a bad person. I'm sorry, and if I could go back I don't think there is anything I could do differently. It had to be done right then," Bell said.

 Bell says he was inside his house, and his two kids were outside playing when the attack happened. "My little girl came into the house screaming frantically 'Daddy, daddy they have Rex!'"

Rex is Bell's 8 year old Chihuahua, who had freed himself from his chain.

Police say the owner of the other two dogs heard the fight from inside her home and was trying to break the dogs apart using a broom.

"My dog was getting chewed up, his head in the mouth of one dog. One had him by the bottom of his stomach."

That's when Bell got his 10 millimeter handgun, and shot the dogs under the carport. "My kids were out there, it was their dog. I had to go out there and get my dog. I couldn't let him get ripped up in front of everybody."

He says he told his neighbor and her five year old daughter to go inside, but according to reports the two were standing at the door when he began shooting.

"My little girl was out there, it was a split decision second, I had to do it,

Paulk says the whole thing is an unfortunate situation, "It should have been a neighborly thing where they shook hands and walked away, but unfortunately all three dogs had gotten out."

He says he may have done the same thing if it were his dog, "He probably done the same thing anyone else would have done when you have to save your dog or whatever you have to do."

We could not get in contact with the owner of the dogs that were shot. Bell admits his dog has gotten out before, but says he is a house dog and only stays outside tied up during the day. 

Bell says he is not sure if his dog is going to recover from the attack. He says his ribs are collapsed, and he is hand feeding him crushed up food and water.

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