Owner admits killing dog that bit him
February 19, 2014
A Gardnerville Ranchos man pleaded guilty Wednesday to firing 27 shots, killing a dog that bit him, and said if the loaded gun hadn't been available, he would have killed his pet with a shovel.
James Skiman, 61, pleaded guilty to unlawful discharge of a firearm and cruelty to animals.
Judge Pro Tem Paul Gilbert set sentencing for March 12.
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.
The offenses are misdemeanors, punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and six months in Douglas County Jail.
Skiman said Wednesday that on Nov. 19 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.
"I was cleaning my firearm, and I loaded it. I shot him until I knew he was dead," Skiman said. "This will probably hurt me, but if the gun had been locked in the (gun) safe, I would have taken a shovel and beat him to death with it."
Skiman said 16 months ago, the dog — again unprovoked — bit his neck, requiring 16 stitches. On Nov. 19, the dog bit his lip, requiring 50 stitches.
According to the sheriff's office, Skiman was still firing a .45-caliber handgun at the dog when deputies arrived at his Rubio Way home.
Reports indicated he fired 27 rounds at the dog, and at least eight bullets hit the animal.
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.
Prosecutor Erik Levin said Skiman had been warned about the animal at least two times before the shooting.
When deputies responded to the Rubio Way home at 9:30 p.m. the night of the incident, they said Skiman was still firing.
He was taken to Carson Valley Medical Center for treatment for his injuries before being transported to Douglas County Jail.