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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > February 17, 2005

Officer accused of shooting dog, then lying about it

February 17, 2005, 11:42 AM EST

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. -- An off-duty police officer intentionally shot a dog during a deer hunt and then lied to a grand jury about what happened, authorities alleged.

Craig Cummings, 34, an 11-year police veteran, was arraigned Wednesday on felony charges of perjury, criminal contempt, criminal mischief, cruelty to animals and shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling.

Cummings was placed on administrative leave last month but has now been suspended without pay, police said. He pleaded innocent and was released on his own recognizance.

Cummings was hunting with two others Nov. 30 on property owned by a friend's family a few miles outside this lake-side city of 11,000 in western New York.

Cummings told authorities, and later a grand jury, that he shot at two deer running in the woods, then saw an injured dog running toward a house nearby. But prosecutors said he fired in the direction of the house and intentionally shot the dog, an American mastiff named Angel who later died.

If convicted of perjury, the most serious charge, Cummings could get up to two years and four months to seven years in prison.

The dog's owner, Neil Kovar, said he hoped the case raises public awareness about the dangers of hunting in areas that are under development.

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Information from: Daily Messenger 

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press

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