LAKEVILLE — A man who claims he shot and killed his neighbors’ golden retriever as an act of self defense is now facing criminal charges.
On Thursday afternoon, Lakeville police announced that Mark J. Vasseur, 61, of 9 Susan Lane, is facing a charge of malicious killing of a domesticated animal.
The charges stem from an investigation that police opened on Sunday after Krissy Dashner and Pat Bates told police that their neighbor, Vasseur, killed their golden retriever dog named Walle.
The couple let their dogs, Walle and Zeke, a German shepherd, out on Sunday night and they ventured into the woods on their 9-acre property. The couple had been searching for their dogs for about an hour when they heard five gunshots in the distance. Zeke returned, but Walle did not.
“When I heard the gunshots, I had a sinking feeling,” Dashner told The Enterprise’s news partner, WCVB-TV.
Vasseur claimed that Walle was going after his chickens and that he and his wife were afraid for their safety.
“That dog was growling and teeth showing,” he told WCVB. “It would’ve bit me. I’m truly sorry, but there’s nothing I could do about it.”
The couple wishes their neighbor would have reached out to them.
“We’re very approachable people,” Bates said. “We’re new to the neighborhood and I really wish that he had come and talked to us. People have a right to defend their livestock, if that’s what they’re doing.”
In light of the incident, a petition was created online to gain support for revoking Vasseur’s gun license. As of Thursday afternoon, 25,619 people had signed the petition, which had a goal of 25,000 signatures.
Vasseur will be summonsed to court at a later date on the charge. His arraignment in Wareham District Court hasn’t yet been scheduled.
Information from WCVB-TV was used in this report.