Federal police officer Keith Elgin Shepherd was fined and given probation before judgment Friday for shooting a Siberian husky he claimed attacked his pet and was threatening him and his wife at a community dog park in Severn in August. "We are overjoyed that it's gotten this far," Rachel Rettaliata told Anne Arundel County District Judge Thomas J. Pryal. She and her husband, Ryan Rettaliata, owned Bear-Bear, the dog shot in the Quail Run community dog park and injured so severely that he had to be euthanized. "Our lives have been turned upside down."After a 3 1/2-hour trial, Pryal called the shooting of Bear-Bear "an overreaction" and said it was unreasonable, causing pain and suffering to the 3-year-old dog. Pryal said he was ready to convict Shepherd, 32, on charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty and, with the nearest home 66 yards away, discharging his personal handgun within 100 yards of homes in the Quail Run neighborhood. He offered Shepherd probation before judgment, allowing him to avoid a criminal record if he successfully completes probation. Shepherd accepted the terms and, barring new criminal charges or not fulfilling the conditions of probation, he will have the opportunity to have his record expunged in three years. He cannot appeal. Pryal fined Shepherd $500 for animal cruelty and gave him a suspended fine of $1,000 on the handgun charge. During his one-year unsupervised probation, he must complete 80 hours of community service.
Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun
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