POWHATAN, Va (WTVR) - A Powhatan County man will make his first appearance in court Friday morning. Louis Nigro Jr. is charged with killing his neighbor's two Siberian Huskies after the dogs escaped from their yard.
The Obradovic family, who live off Jeter Road in Powhatan, were stunned when Sheriff's Deputies came to their door saying they found their dogs, Jethro and Abby, shot to death. The huskies had gotten out of their fenced-in backyard.
About a week later, Nigro Jr. was charged with two felony counts of cruelty to animals in connection to the dogs' death.
Nigro Jr. told CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil off camera that he only shot the dogs because he thought they were attacking the roosters he keeps on his property.
Powhatan Sheriff's Deputies told the Obradovic family they found their dogs' dead bodies on Nigro Jr.'s property, about a mile away from their home.
Legal experts tell CBS 6, domestic animals, like dogs and cats, are protected under the law more so than other animals.
"The code is pretty clear," CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone said. "It says if you use deadly force against domestic cats or dogs without reasonable justification, then it's a class 6 felony. So the question is going to be, how good is his defense and that's just something we'll have to see when he goes to court."
At Nigro Jr.'s hearing today in Powhatan Court, Stone said the judge will decide whether there is enough probable cause to send the case to Circuit Court.
If convicted of the charges, Nigro Jr. could spend up to 10 years in prison.
This is a developing story, so stay with CBS 6 for updates.