Officials Investigate Fatal Shooting of Dog - NECN
New Hampshire

New Hampshire

The latest news from around the state

Officials Investigate Fatal Shooting of Dog

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Lee Thurston of Rochester, New Hampshire, is accused of killing his dog, Sophie, after she allegedly bit a 4-year-old boy. (Published Wednesday, March 4, 2015)

    A family dog in New Hampshire was shot and killed Monday by its owner after it allegedly bit a 4-year-old boy.

    Lee Thurston, 33, of Rochester, is charged with reckless conduct for firing a weapon inside an apartment building and felony animal cruelty for killing his dog, Sophie.

    Thurston's wife, Crystal, tells necn the dog never bit her son, and says her husband reacted "irrationally" to the situation that left her son with a puncture wound on his head.

    Crystal is asking that people learn the whole story before passing judgment on her family or their dog.

    Sophie was a 2-year-old blue nose pit bull, best friends with her neighbor dog, Macy, and according to family friends, a gentle companion to the four-year-old boy she lived with.

    On Monday, though, Rochester Police say Thurston shot and killed her after he thought she bit his son.

    Capt. Gary Boudreau says police cannot confirm that the dog acted aggressively.

    "We have some conflicting reports and we are still investigating," Capt. Boudreau said.

    Thurston's wife tells necn Sophie never bit her son. She says it was an accident while the two were jumping around on the bed.

    Crystal was too upset to talk on camera, that's why her neighbors, Kellie Pullino and Mark McAdams, spoke to necn on her behalf.
    "It seems they had bumped heads," McAdams said.

    McAdams says when Thurston saw the blood from the cut on his son's head, he lost control, put Sophie in her crate and shot her.
    The two rushed to their neighbors apartment as soon as they heard what happened.

    "He knew what he did was wrong and he couldn't take it back, and he was heartbroken," Pullino said about Thurston moments after the shooting.

    "He's not that type of person and I know that for a fact," McAdams said.

    Crystal tells necn her husband suffers from PTSD stemming from a violent car crash and a house fire back in 2007.

    She says he hates himself for what he did to Sophie and to their family. But his friends say they can't blame him.

    "It's a very natural parental thing to do is to protect your child first and foremost," McAdams said.

    "Lee's a good man. He acted rash and he is getting the help he needs for it," Pullino said.

    Thurston got out of jail on $5,000 bail, but Crystal tells necn he admitted himself to the hospital Tuesday night to try and get the treatment he needs. He is due back in court on the charges in April.

    For up-to-the-minute news and weather, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Sign up for our new breaking news email alerts by clicking here and download our free apps here.