DA declines to file charges in dog's deaths

Thursday, May 22nd 2008, 11:20 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

GUTHRIE, Okla. -- The Logan County District Attorney will not file charges in the case of five dogs that were shot and killed at Liberty Lake last month.

District Attorney Robert Hudson said there isn't enough evidence to prove the gunman broke the law.

Rod Anderson and his hunting partner said five of their trained dogs were gunned down on public land by Guthrie businessman Rodney Luckenbill.

Anderson said the ordeal has been "very trying."

"It's been very stressful," he said. "I have a lot of sleepless nights."

Luckenbill said he shot at two of the dogs because they were attacking his cattle. State law permits this and there was proof the cattle were injured by dogs. Luckenbill also said he shot and killed the other dogs after they approached him in an aggressive manner as he tried to locate the owners. 

"We didn't feel like that we'd be able to meet our burden of proof to obtain a conviction," D.A. Hudson said. "We'd have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not exercising self defense and we couldn't do that in this case."

Hudson said he thinks the jury would side with the gunman after learning that some of the dogs were a pit-bull mix.

"Right, wrong or different, most people are scared to death of pit bulls," Hudson said.

The dog owners said they think there's a conflict of interest because the gunman's attorney, Frank Davis, is a contributor to the district attorney's campaign fund.

Hudson said it's ridiculous to think the donations played a role in his decision not to pursue charges. Hudson said what Luckenbill did to the dogs was extreme and unnecessary, but hard to prove in a court.