MANCHESTER, MO – A retired St. Louis County Police officer is charged after a police investigation revealed he admitted to shooting a neighbor's dog, in an incident where the dog later died from his injuries.
Barry Armfield, 62, was charged with animal abuse, a misdemeanor offense.
Jackie Dukart is still mourning the sudden loss of her Blue Heeler, Ruger. She's thankful that the investigation was taken seriously and that charges were filed, but she doesn't think it goes far enough.
"It's a misdemeanor. I don't think that's enough," said Dukart. "It's like he's getting away with it."
St. Louis County prosecutors charged Armfield after Manchester Police investigated a dog shot in the 400 block of Spring Meadows Drive on October 4th. Neighbors reported to police they heard a single gunshot and then a dog yelping.
A 38 page police report details the investigation, including how police got Armfield to admit to the crime, when he first denied everything.
According to the report, "Armfield stated that he heard what he believed to be a transformer or something had blown up. I then asked him if he had heard a dog yelping. He stated "No"."
In the report, officers also noted the smell of alcohol on Armfield: "It should be noted that in my first contact with Armfield, I smelled an odor consistent with that of an intoxicating beverage coming from his person. His eyes also appeared glassy, bloodshot and he had a starry look to them."
The report states that police found a trail of fresh blood and dog hair from Ruger's house to Armfield's driveway.
When officers confronted Armfield about the blood on his property, the police report states he admitted he shot Ruger with his .40 caliber commemorative pistol that he got when he left the county.
According to the police report, Armfield said he shot Ruger because the dog was barking at his driveway and "showing his teeth in a vicious manner" and he felt threatened and scared.
Some neighbors stated in the report that Ruger would sometimes run loose, approach them and bark but they never felt he'd attack.
Also, one neighbor's baby monitor recorded the sound of the gunshot and Ruger yelping after, but the police officer who reviewed the recording said he did not hear barking before the gunfire, like Armfield claimed.
Fox 2 could not reach Armfield for comment. We reached out to the Manchester Police Department about why Armfield is only facing a misdemeanor charge when he fired a weapon in a neighborhood and why he was never tested for possibly being intoxicated at the time of the shooting. A police spokesperson said Armfield was not given a sobriety test at the scene because "unlike the DWI statutes , the weapons statute in Missouri offers no power to compel someone to submit to sobriety testing."