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Fallbrook man pleads guilty to shooting neighbor's dog; dog loses leg in ordeal

Friday, October 12th, 2012
Issue 41, Volume 16.
Debbie Ramsey
Managing Editor
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Late last week a Fallbrook man pled guilty in court to shooting a neighbor's dog, which led to the canine having to endure the amputation of a leg.

According to Kelli Herwehe of the San Diego Humane Society, Michael O'Brien pled guilty to a felony charge of animal abuse (597 (a)) relating to an incident that occurred in April of this year during which he shot his neighbor's nine-month-old Siberian Husky named Gunner in the leg.

"Gunner had to have his leg amputated, but he is home and doing well now," said Herwehe, adding that the San Diego Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) immediately filed animal cruelty charges against O’Brien for the shooting.

Herwehe reported that as a result of the incident, O'Brien was put on three years probation, ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution and will not be permitted to own an animal for three years.

"O'Brien claimed to be irritated with the dog," said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president/CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. "It's inexcusable to harm an animal for any reason, and on behalf of this community of animal lovers, we won't tolerate it."

Weitzman said humane officers are diligent about working in the field and "giving a voice to the defenseless."

"Our humane officers are in the field seven days a week responding to claims of animal cruelty. The punishment for crimes against animals has become more appropriate in the past year. This is a step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go."

Weitzman said suspicions of animal cruelty or neglect can be submitted on the San Diego Humane Society’s website at or by calling (619) 243-3466.



Comment Profile ImageAnimal lover
Comment #1 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 2:14 pm
I'd like to pay him a friendly visit :)
Comment Profile ImageOLD FALLBROOK LOCAL
Comment #2 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm
Is it animal cruelty when people won't quiet their barking dog at 3:00 A:M ?
Comment Profile ImageCurious
Comment #3 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm
I wonder what old Fallbrook local would advocate doing to a neighbor with a crying baby at 3 am.
Comment Profile Image@ old fallbrook local
Comment #4 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm
Seriously? I feel sorry for anyone who thinks its ok to harm an innocent animal. Try using your brain and solving them problem in a civilized manner? Or is that too much to ask? I'm glad you moved out of Fallbrook.
Comment Profile ImageFrosty
Comment #5 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm
Got to agree with Old Flbrk Local, It's cruel to the animal to leave it alone in a backyard all day barking at leaves dropping from the trees. Then the owners come home at 5pm to throw some kibble at the dog, and the dog spends the next 8 hours barking non-stop with not so much as a peep from the owner. That is animal and neighbor cruelty!
Comment Profile ImagePessimistic
Comment #6 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm
Goat killers and dog maimers... what's this town coming to?

Comments 3 and 4 make no sense. Where do you interpret OLD FALLBROOK LOCAL as advocating violence towards barking dogs? He / she may be implying that a continuously barking dog at 3am is possibly under duress or injured and the owners are doing nothing about it (possible abuse / neglect). If the dog is not under duress, or injured, then maybe it's a chronic irritating nuisance and in that case any violence, if I am inaccurately interpreting the comment, may be being directed at those inconsiderate owners (aka neighbors).

As for additional interpretation (comment 4) - I took his screen name as implying that he / she may be "old" in the sense of having long time established roots in town, or is elderly (by his / her own admission), not that they had "moved out of Fallbrook". Then again, this person could be 31 year old cross-dressing psychopath residing in a home made bunker in northern Maine or another country for all we know.

But, I digress... it has been a couple boring / quiet weeks on the FVN website since that big bust put 50 of Fallbrook's Finest in the gray bar motels.
Comment Profile Image3 year home owner in Fallbrook.
Comment #7 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm
I have large dogs that bark at 3 a.m. when they know something is going on in the neighborhood. I bring them in if they wont stop, if they are telling me something is still wrong outside, they will keep barking. My neighbors have small dogs the bark at everything, I can't even go in my own yard.( I someday will talk to the person about it, not kill the dog)
Comment Profile ImageFB resident
Comment #8 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm
Remember: Quiet hours are from 10pm until 6 am. If there is any noise bothering you during this time, call the police. Whether it is a crying baby, barking dog, loud party, motorcycles racing up and down the street, whatever. It is their duty to "keep the peace."
Comment Profile ImageAnimal lover #2
Comment #9 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm
Really? How hard would it have been to go to the door and ask the neighbor to do something. Absolutely disgusted, that guy should be shot in the leg, see how he likes it. And I'm sorry, but he should NEVER be allowed to own ANY animal EVER. And yes, as a responsible and curtious animal owner, you should try to keep your pets quiet at night out of respect for your neighbors. KEEP THEM INSIDE. They'll be quiet when they're lying down comfortably in the house with the rest of the family where they belong.
Comment Profile ImageMe
Comment #10 | Friday, Oct 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm
OFL...It's not the dog's fault.
Comment Profile ImageDeVille
Comment #11 | Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 at 8:29 am
This guy need to be put in jail. Excuse me but in 2000 i ate rohibinals and a half of jack daniels and i killed a cat with a bat.I did 3 months in jail i shoulda done more,THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ANIMAL ABUSE. The pain he would feel when the cellmates find out he shot a dog, he prolly walk outta jail missing a leg.
Comment Profile Imagehmm
Comment #12 | Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 at 11:54 am
Regarding comment #8..disagree with the information you stated. Ive called numerous times around 11 pm,sometimes closer to midnight at night to complain about"BOOM BOOM music" and have been told each time that IF I am willing to sign a complaint and IF 3 others complain about same noise then and only then will the Sheriff go to that location and REQUEST..not demand..(big difference)..that the noise stop. If we are the only complaints then NOTHING is done...Thats the truth.
Comment Profile ImageConcerned Neighbor
Comment #13 | Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm
I live in the area that this took place, from what I know the dog was shot in a rain storm on friday the 13th around noon FOR NO REASON on the dog owners property 2 acres away from that JERK who shot him!!! The dogs I believe are indoor dogs and I have never heard or seen them at night. Our neighbors sit at least 3-4 acres apart and we never heard dogs bark!! I guess he shot the dog for the heck of it while it stood in its own yard defenseless!! The two Siberian Huskies that live 2 acres away from that man are kind loving sweet quiet babies, who where targeted by his anger towards them for merely being dogs and living next door to him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope the children in our neighborhood don't ever irritate him or cross into his yard for halloween, because they could be next!! He needs to be inprisoned for what he has done to an innoccent victim, regardless if it was a puppy or human, his action of violence can not be excusable!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who keep commenting about the dog barking at 3 am, you have no IDEA about the facts of this shooting and should keep your dumb comments to yourself!!!!
Comment Profile ImageFallbrook resident
Comment #14 | Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm
I agree with #12. I've been told the exact same thing from SD Sheriff's office about noise complaints. #8 doesn't know what he's talking about
Comment Profile Imagere: hmm
Comment #15 | Sunday, Oct 14, 2012 at 12:30 am
That's likely because they have important work to do. You know, like saving lives and such. People need to learn how to solve their own problems. I'm glad the cops don't race out to every noise complaint they receive.
Comment Profile ImageDragonfly
Comment #16 | Sunday, Oct 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm
The comment are just as disturbing as the the act of violence. Fallbrook is not the ghetto, please show some respect for your community. Really you think this way. Organize and stop the s... talk.
Comment Profile Imagehmm is right
Comment #17 | Sunday, Oct 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm
Call the Sheriff due to violation of the noise ordinance??? Good luck with that.....You will be lucky if the phone call is answered. OK, shooting a dog obviously was/is not the correct thing to do. I love dogs. I have 2 myself. And when/if my dogs bark at night I see why. But the majority of people that own dogs do not. So the barking continues and continues into the night. The house in front of me, behind me, on either side of me, all have dogs. And 3 of the 4 neighbors do not give a darn that their beloved dogs bark all night long. They do not bring the dogs in to be with the family. So yes, you go to your neighbor to let them know their dog is barking, (like they can't hear it themselves) and yes the barking stops. But not for long. It just shows the lack of consideration neighbors have. That's how it rolls in my FB hood.
Comment Profile Imagehe\'s a disgrace to society
Comment #18 | Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 6:19 am
what about some jail time and banned from ever owning any animals for life. what a crock of s... punishment that is.
Comment Profile ImageFallbrook sheriff
Comment #19 | Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 6:29 am
You are false. Noise ordinace laws state that only ONE party needs to sign the complaint for a citation to be issued.
Comment Profile ImageFR86
Comment #20 | Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 9:33 am
What is wrong with some of the creeps that live in Fallbrook. Tying puppies to trees under a bee hive (I'd like to know if the sheriff's department has anything on this story yet), shooting dogs cause your irritated with them tapping 4H goats mouths shut and suffocating them, starving horses so they have to be rescued................come on what's wrong with you people.

I've got a neighbor that let's his dogs out all night and they bark at all hours of the morning......yea it irritates me but that's part of being a neighbor. He in turn jogs around my property line and taunts my dogs and then complains to me that they irritate him.

Neighbors get a grip....we all need to get along.
Comment Profile ImagePooh Sticks
Comment #21 | Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm
How about taking away his GUN?
Comment Profile Imagedog lover
Comment #22 | Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm
@Pooh Sticks. How about just shooting the dog's owner and leaving the poor animal be? LOL!
Comment Profile ImageFB neighbor
Comment #23 | Monday, Oct 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm
All of you guys talking about how barking was the reason that the dog was shot, then somebody please point out where it EVEN says ANYTHING about NOISE or BARKING in the article!

And OLD FALLBROOK LOCAL, please tell me what your statement has to due with any of this?

And as far as i know this occurred in the middle of the day... Not at 3AM, and there was no barking involved!!!

Comment Profile ImageFR86
Comment #24 | Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 9:23 am
To FB neighbor

You really are a sorry person.
Comment Profile ImagePooh Stick
Comment #25 | Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:09 am
@dog lover. I agree and I'll bet the dog's a better shot!
Comment Profile Imagehmm
Comment #26 | Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm
Re comment #19..then please instruct the dispatcher who answers calls after 10 pm at night as thats what Ive been told..NUMEROUS TIMES..and for comment #15..SOME of us HAVE a JOB that requires us to get a little sleep at night..I dont mind music..I love music..I love having fun myself BUT when people have JOBS and need a little sleep and the JERKS party all night..yeah..unfortunately a call to the sheriffs is gonna happen..I dont know whose house its coming from..Im not the sherifff..part of MY taxes are paying their salary...cause I WORK and need a little sleep.And that IS part of their job..just like traffic its not as important as murder ..but its part of their job....
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #27 | Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm
Resident Comment #25, if you read the article and the comments I have to say Comment #23 make a valid argument. Perhaps it could have presented it differently but I'm not so sure about that.
Comment Profile Imagegolden
Comment #28 | Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm
We have a dog in the neighborhood who has killed a goat, tore up 2 dogs who were in their yard, and bit a neighbor in the butt. It took 2 weeks to get somebody out. They keep the dog penned up. What a solution.
Comment Profile Image@ golden
Comment #29 | Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm
If they keep the dog penned up then how has it caused so much destruction?
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #30 | Thursday, Oct 18, 2012 at 8:37 am
Dogs with bad behavior are the fault of their owners not the dogs themselves. It makes me sick to see the way some people treat their animals. I have "pets" and trust me, they are in charge of the house. (-:
Comment Profile Image@ Pink
Comment #31 | Thursday, Oct 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm
I wonder what Cesar "the dog whisperer" would say about your pets being in charge of your house...
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #32 | Thursday, Oct 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm
@Comment #31...Do you have his phone number? LOL
Comment Profile ImageFallbrook Blues
Comment #33 | Friday, Oct 19, 2012 at 8:55 am
Comment #8-That "quiet hours" thing is from many years ago, you can now report a Disturbance of the Peace to the Sheriffs dept anytime of the day or night (such as to report loud mariachi music)

I don't know why someone would want to call on a barking dog though, its natural for the dog to bark-not like the sheriffs can tell the dog to stop barking.
Comment Profile Imagewhy were my...
Comment #34 | Friday, Oct 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm
horns cut off? m/
Comment Profile Image@ 33
Comment #35 | Friday, Oct 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm
Not true. I can play music as loud as I want until 9:59 pm and you can't do squat about it.
Comment Profile ImagePreston
Comment #36 | Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 at 7:41 am
Annoying dogs have irresponsible owners.
Comment Profile ImageTRUTH EXISTS
Comment #37 | Sunday, Oct 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm
Eye for an eye lets remove the man's leg

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