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Judge holds off deal for man accused of shooting dogs

By Stephen Betts | Apr 30, 2021

Rockland — A state judge delayed April 29 a plea hearing for a Warren man accused of shooting two dogs last fall, saying he wanted to make sure the animals' owners were in agreement with the proposed sentence.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm postponed April 29 the plea and sentencing hearing for 59-year-old James Batty, who is charged with two counts of cruelty to animals for an incident Oct. 14, 2020, in Warren.

Knox County Regional Communications Center received a 911 call shortly after 7:30 a.m., Oct. 14, reporting gunshots near residences along Western Road in Warren. The caller also reported seeing two dogs running away with potential gunshot wounds.

Deputies and Warren Animal Control responded to the area and were unable to locate the source of the gunshots or dogs. The dogs were later found at a local animal hospital and were being treated for gunshot wounds.

Deputy Juan Alcala, through his investigation, was able to determine a suspect and charged Batty by issuance of a summons.

During the April 29 abbreviated hearing, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Madison said one of the animals had to have a leg amputated.

Batty said he shot the dogs because they were annoying his chickens, the prosecutor said.

Madison told Justice Hjelm the district attorney's office policy is to inform victims before a sentence agreement is reached, but said he could not say with certainty that the owners of the dogs agreed to this sentence agreement. Hjelm ordered a postponement of the hearing to confirm the owners were notified, and give them the opportunity to speak about the proposed agreement.

The agreement calls for a 24-month deferred disposition, where one count would be dismissed and Batty would be fined $500 for the remaining charge if he adheres to terms of the deferred disposition. The amount of restitution will be determined at a later hearing but the veterinarian bills totaled $15,000 of which $5,000 was covered by a Gofundme drive.

The terms of the agreement would require Batty to pay whatever restitution is imposed and to refrain from any additional criminal conduct.

A date has not been scheduled for the hearing.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Michael Timothy Doucette | May 02, 2021 07:19

He should have been shot. Most families consider there pets as family members. Would he have shot a kid if they were “bothering” his chickens. He also shouldn’t be allowed to have any sort of animals

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