NH Woman Concerned, Police Investigating After Dog Shot, Killed
Photos - Courtesy Jennifer Poulin
EPSOM — Police are investigating after a woman said her neighbor shot and killed her dog when he escaped the yard Saturday.
The dog's owner, Jennifer Poulin, said her dog Boba escaped her fenced-in yard at 508 New Orchard Road on Saturday then Poulin said she heard a commotion and a gun firing next door.
She and her children ran outside to check on the problem and that’s when she heard her neighbor’s son cry out.
“I heard his son say, ‘What the hell did you do? You killed their dog,’” Poulin recalled.
Police Chief Wayne Preve said he couldn’t comment any further on the situation other than to say the investigation is ongoing.
Poulin has had Boba, a pitbull, since he was a puppy. He would have turned 3 on Oct. 24. Poulin said he has never hurt anyone and that he wasn't barking at the neighbors when he was shot.
“I have friends that have brought their newborns to our house, and my dogs have never had problems before,” Poulin said.
She said Boba had escaped once before but she and her children were able to corral him back from the neighbor’s home at 512 New Orchard Road with no problems.
Poulin said during that escape, her neighbor Timothy Mahle expressed some concern with Boba getting free, mentioning that he had a firearm and would use it if necessary. The Mahles have chickens, but Poulin said she believes their biggest concern was their children.
Poulin and the Mahles have sons in the same grade and the boys are good friends, but she said the children always played at the Mahle’s home. She said despite a quick door knock to find out if her children were home, the children never came to her house.
Poulin has lived at her home for 13 years and said the Mahles are good neighbors.
“This was the only thing causing a problem,” she said.
Poulin said after Boba was shot, Mahle called police to report the shooting and also checked with the vet to see if they were open.
“He had a faint heartbeat, and we knew he was pretty much gone,” she said of Boba. “He was shot in the chest and there was no exit wound. I was trying to save my dog.”
However, Poulin is concerned that there could have been much worse consequences, noting that Mahle shoots target practice in his yard despite the proximity of their homes. She said she wishes a warning shot had been fired.
“My kids could have been trying to get (Boba) and it could have been a worse situation," she said. "It could have hit them.”
Each home sits on about 2 acres of property. Poulin said the homes are about 100 feet apart with some woods in between.
In New Hampshire, a person can shoot a firearm on personal property with permission of the owner as long as they are 15 feet from an area of travel, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game rules. Communities also can enact their own ordinances on firearms.
Officials at Epsom Town Hall did not know whether the town had its own ordinance and referred calls to the police. Police have not yet returned follow up phone calls or emails from NH1. However, Fish and Game officials said Epsom police told them the town does not have a separate firearms ordinance.
In New Hampshire residents also can legally shoot a dog or wild animal that is threatening their livestock.
Timothy and Brandy Mahle bought their home in August 2013, according to town assessing records. Attempts to reach them for this article were unsuccessful.
Poulin said Monday she hasn’t talked to the Mahles since the shooting but she feels Boba was shot for one reason: because he’s a pitbull.
“I own another dog who is a pitbull, and who’s to say he’s not going to put a bullet in her,” she said. “My dogs have never gone after his chickens. If it would have been any other dog, he wouldn’t have shot it. It’s hard.”
This story was updated at 9:40 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, to include information about firearms ordinances in Epsom.