Nine months ago, Barley survived being shot by a neighbor. But he's not the same dog he used to be, according to one of his owners.
"There are some lasting effects," Bonnie Ream of Fawn Township said of Barley's gunshot wounds. She and husband Samuel Ream own the 7-year-old boxer.
"It changed his life -- and changed ours, too," she said. "It was pretty traumatic for all of us."
Barley was hit by birdshot from a 12-gauge shotgun in his left front and rear legs about 8:30 p.m. Sept. 13. Since being shot, he can't run the way he used to and seems to be affected by cold weather, according to Ream.
"He has pellets in his legs that are still coming out, and he's a little bit more skittish," she said. Still, she said, "He's such a sweet, sweet boy."
Tobie Lee Beavers, 62, of
778 Bridgeton Road, pleaded guilty May 24 to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals and was sentenced to a year of probation for shooting Barley, according to court records.
Restitution: As part of a negotiated plea agreement, Beavers also was ordered to perform community service and pay about $1,200 in restitution to the Reams for veterinary bills, deputy prosecutor Dave Mueller said.
According to court documents, Sam Ream told state police he saw Barley heading toward the nearby home of a family member. When Barley hadn't returned after about 15 minutes, Sam Ream started searching for him, police said.
He then heard gunshots and, shortly afterward, Barley came home covered in blood and leaving a blood trail behind him, police said.
He made it to the Reams' front sidewalk, but couldn't go any farther, according to Bonnie Ream.
"He was pretty lifeless," from blood loss and shock, she said. "It was total chaos -- complete panic."
A family friend who's a veterinary technician happened to be visiting at the time, and Bonnie Ream credited her with helping to keep Barley alive until they could rush him to a veterinary hospital.
Blood trail: "The complicated thing about this case was Mr. Beavers' claim that he shot the dog (near his porch)," Mueller said. "Unfortunately for him, the evidence didn't back up that claim. (Barley's) blood trails were not where they would have been."
According to court documents, the blood trail started about 750 feet away from where Beavers said Barley was standing when he shot him.
Beavers maintains some sort of animal was attacking his three dogs, was growling at them and had his dogs backed into their dog houses, according to defense attorney Douglas Bare.
'Dark shadow': "Mr. Beavers saw this dark shadow over his dogs; his dogs were whining. He did shoot a warning shot ... he thought it might have been a bear or something," Bare said. "So he fired a warning shot over the animal and it started running away. And it's the second shot that I think got him in trouble."
Bare maintains the blood trail doesn't contradict Beavers' version of events, and that Beavers' wife backs up his account.
"You are allowed to shoot and kill a dog that is pursuing or attacking your own animals," Bare said. He confirmed Beavers' dogs weren't hurt.
When confronted that night by Sam Ream and several other people, Beavers said, "Yeah, I shot your f--ing dog. So what? It wasn't on a leash," court documents state.
Mueller described Beavers' actions as reckless and irresponsible.
-- Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.