Jackson County authorities have decided not to press charges against a man who shot and killed a neighbor’s donkey after it attacked and attempted to mate with several of his cattle.
Police say the events that transpired two weeks ago were unfortunate but left a property owner with no choice but to use force.
Gordon was a 4-year-old pet donkey belonging to Jessica Knox of Gay.
The Knox family has a farm on Frozen Camp Creek Road, where the donkey lived in a fenced-in area.
Sometime during the morning of Aug. 17, Gordon somehow escaped.
Later that morning, 911
dispatchers got a call from Michael Gandee, who lives about a half-mile down the road from Knox.
He told them the donkey was running loose on his property, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Tony Boggs said.
“It was aggressive toward him,” Boggs said “They had tried to go to the owner, couldn’t get anybody there.”
Deputies and humane officers were dispatched to the property several miles east of Ripley.
But before authorities could get there, the donkey broke through a fence and began “attacking and harassing” Gandee’s cows, Boggs said.
The donkey kicked several pregnant cows, ran some into a nearby creek and then attempted to mate with Gandee’s 2,000-pound bull, he said.
When Gandee attempted to run the donkey off, it continued to act aggressively toward him.
“Finally, he felt he had no better option to protect his cattle than to kill it,” Boggs said.
Police say Gandee went inside his home, retrieved his rifle and took aim. After shooting the donkey, Gandee called 911 again to say he had been forced to do so.
It apparently happened just as Gordon’s owner noticed he was gone.
“He called and advised the donkey was shot, and then she (Knox) called in to report a missing donkey,” Boggs said. “We had to break the news to her that it was probably hers.”
Attempts to reach both Gandee and Knox by phone Thursday were unsuccessful.
Boggs said Knox was understandably upset, but authorities interviewed Gandee and an independent witness and concluded he had no choice but to kill the donkey.
“We’re sympathetic for (Knox), but believe that the property owner was in his rights in protecting his farm animals,” Boggs said. “Understandably, nobody wanted that — including the gentleman who shot it — or he wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to avoid it.”
The sheriff’s office is preparing a report to send to Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jim McHugh’s office to review in case they’d like to proceed, but Boggs feels the case is closed on their end.
“We have no intentions of charging anyone at this point,” he said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5148.
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