Robert Bushnell, 50, of Woodstock Road, in September of last year, shot and killed his neighbor's two companion animals because they were killing his chickens and chasing his livestock, at least that's how he justified his cruel, viscous act when the police finally caught up with him. The owner of the two dogs, Mocha, a 7-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, and Rocky, a 5-year-old Alaskan malamute, admits that she knew that they had killed two chicken and had made an attempt to find out who they belonged too.
The neighbor, Robert Bushnell, lived 400 yards away and knew her dogs but never spoke with her about the problem. He confessed to the police that he never even attempted to contact Amy Tubbs about the problem. He told the police that he took those two beautiful, friendly animals to the state owned property, miles from his home, and shot them several times, leaving their bodies where they fell, to be eaten by the wild animals that freely roamed the area. Hikers discovered the bodies and then an anonymous tip led the police to Bushnell weeks after the shooting.
Amy Tubbs told Christen Gowan, a staff writer for the Albany Times Union, "I'm glad that they found out who did it. I'm infuriated because I live so close to this person." According to Gowan, Undersheriff Craig Apple said the shootings appear to be an isolated incident. He added that media attention from the case caused Bushnell to give police a statement. "I don't think that he would ever do it again," Apple said.
Bushnell wasn't arrested; he was issued an appearance ticket.
Dianne Byron wrote in a letter to the editor on October 19, 2009, "I was very upset to read that the man who police say admitted that he shot to death two dogs in Berne would not be prosecuted under Buster's Law because, according to police, he did not sadistically torture them."
Is it any less a crime of murder to kill someone's beloved companion animal than it is to kill one of their children? Buster's Law needs to be revised. The willful killing of any one's companion animals should be a felony and treated as one.