Lawyers present differing versions of event in animal cruelty trial

Lawyers present differing versions of event in animal cruelty trial

May 10th, 2011 by Todd South in Local - Breaking News

Attorneys in an aggravated animal cruelty case painted different pictures in the opening of this morning's trial.

Assistant Public Defender Erinn O'Leary told the jury that her client, Roger Dale Beason, was acting on a "fear-driven instinct" when he shot a stray, black, female German Shepard mix dog in the snout with a razor-tipped arrow.

Assistant District Attorney Lance Pope told the jury many employees near JIT Steel, the shooting site, will testify the dog was friendly and posed no threat.

The trial began this morning in Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole's courtroom after a two-hour jury selection.

Pope's first witness, Chattanooga police Officer Daniel Russell, testified that when he first responded on Sept 25, 2009, and interviewed Beason, the 36-year-old man told him the dog had been a problem for awhile and he took care of it.

The trial of a 36-year-old Whitwell man charged with shooting a dog with an arrow began this morning.

Roger Dale Beason faces a charge of aggravated animal cruelty. Police responded to a call of a "dog running-at-large with an arrow sticking out from its muzzle" on Sept. 25, 2009 near 530 Manufacturers Road.

The arrest warrant states that Beason told police "he shot the animal in question while the animal was stationary and posing no threat to his personal well being."

The dog was taken to a local animal hospital and euthanized due to damage to its respiratory system, according to court documents.

For complete details see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.