Man goes to jail for killing dog |

Man goes to jail for killing dog

by Sheila Gardner

James Skiman

A Gardnerville Ranchos man, who admitted firing 27 shots, killing a dog that bit him, was sentenced Wednesday to six months in Douglas County Jail.

East Fork Justice Tom Perkins ordered James Skiman, 61, taken into custody immediately. He sentenced Skiman to a second, consecutive six-month sentence that he suspended for two years.

Skiman pleaded guilty in February to unlawful discharge of a firearm and cruelty to animals, both misdemeanors.

"You picked up a firearm in a residential area, and destroyed an animal in an inhumane way," Perkins said.

The judge also pointed out that Skiman had alcohol, weapons and ammunition in violation of a court order.

"Whatever is going on with you is out of control," Perkins said.

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He ordered Skiman to undergo counseling when he gets out of jail. He is forbidden to have any additional animals, controlled substances or alcohol, or weapons while on probation.

In exchange for Skiman's guilty pleas, a charge of possession of a firearm with a blood-alcohol content of more than .10 was dismissed.

He received the maximum jail term for the offense.

On Nov. 19 Skiman said he was cleaning his weapon, a .45-calliber handgun, when Banner, an 11-year-old English pointer mix, bit him in the face in an unprovoked attack.

Skiman was still firing the handgun at the dog when deputies arrived at his Rubio Way home around 9:30 p.m.

Reports indicated he fired 27 rounds at the dog, and at least eight bullets hit the animal.

Skiman said it was the second attack by the dog he adopted from Douglas County Animal Care & Services despite warnings that the dog had aggressive behavior.

Prosecutor Erik Levin said the dog was hit in the leg, stomach, shoulder, ear and spine.

"He went hunting for that dog," Levin said. "Instead of calling Animal Control or the sheriff's office, he walked around the yard looking for the dog."

After Banner bit Skiman, the dog went in a doghouse on the front porch. Levin said Skiman fired nine times through the side of the structure, went back inside and reloaded the weapon, and shot again at Banner.

"The dog had crawled away from the dog house to the corner of the porch. Banner's head was through the porch railing in a desperate attempt to get away from Mr. Skiman who reloaded a third time and fired again at the dog," Levin said.

He said neighbors heard the dog yelping after the initial shots were fired, indicating Banner was not killed instantly.

"He prevented the dog from being humanely euthanized. Instead it suffered a horrible death," Levin said.

Skiman, who was a volunteer with Douglas Animal Welfare Group, said he adopted Banner because he was afraid the dog, with a history of aggressive behavior, would be put down. The animal bit a 4-year-old girl in the face, and a shelter volunteer on the hand before Skiman took the dog.

Levin said Skiman had been warned about the animal at least two times before the shooting, and turned down a recommendation the dog be euthanized.

"His response was that he rescued the dog and would never give it up," Levin said.

He was taken to Carson Valley Medical Center for treatment for his injuries before being transported to Douglas County Jail.

According to reports, his blood-alcohol content was .20, and he had a pistol, two rifles, three shotguns and ammunition at the residence, Levin said.

The firearms, ammunition and alcohol were in violation of a restraining order issued against him in Mono County in July, Levin said.

Skiman apologized.

"I would never do it again. I regret having done it," Skiman said.

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