Police: York County man shot dog in face because it didn't want its nails trimmed

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Manchester Township man shot his dog in the face at point-blank range after announcing he was tired of the dog not cooperating with getting its nails trimmed, according to Northern York County Regional Police.

It happened about 1 a.m. Thursday in the home of Aaron G. Willis, who is now charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals and the misdemeanors of animal cruelty and reckless endangerment.

Willis, 43, of the 2300 block of Woodmont Drive in Manchester Township, remains free on $20,000 unsecured bail, according to court records. That means he didn't have to post any cash to remain free but could forfeit that amount if he misses court proceedings.

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Police said Willis and his girlfriend had been fighting, after which Willis went home. His girlfriend returned home later to pick up her car and some clothing for work, police said.

When she walked in, she saw Willis on the second floor trying to trim the claws of their dog Winston, according to charging documents.

Aaron G. Willis

The girlfriend told officers Winston, an adult cane corso, is reluctant about nail-trimmings and wasn't fully cooperating, police said.

Willis — who is 6-feet-2 and 230 pounds — hit their dog several times in the head, then said, "I am tired of this mother f—er," and walked to his gun safe, documents state.

'Where is he?': The girlfriend and Winston walked downstairs and she began recording as Willis came downstairs holding a pistol in one hand and a baseball bat in the other and asking, "Where is he?" according to charging documents.

The video shows Willis point the gun at Winston and pull the trigger, but it merely clicks, and that's when the woman stopped recording, documents state.

She reported to police that Willis unjammed the handgun "and shot Winston point blank," according to charging documents. The .45-caliber handgun was seized as evidence, documents state.

The woman fled the home, called 911 and hid until officers arrived, police said.

Claimed dog attacked: Willis told an officer that Winston attacked him while Willis and the woman were arguing, according to charging documents, which state Willis was heavily intoxicated.

Winston suffered major injuries to his face and was taken to an animal emergency clinic in Cumberland County, where he underwent surgery, according to police.

Police said they don't know whether Winston will survive.

At about 1 p.m., Willis' girlfriend told The York Dispatch there's no update on her dog's condition.

Willis could not be reached for comment.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.