Guilty verdict for Lakeville dog shooter

Jon Hanley
Shawn McGrath
Staff Writer

A North Liberty man was found guilty earlier this week of criminal recklessness for shooting a dog in the head in Lakeville in December.

St. Joseph Superior Court III Judge Jeff Sanford will sentence Jon D. Hanley during a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21.

A jury found 54-year-old Hanley guilty on Tuesday of criminal recklessness and attempted killing of a domestic animal, both Level 6 felonies, and a misdemeanor count of criminal recklessness, according to Jessica McBrier, director of special projects and media relations for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office.

Each felony is punishable by six months to two and a half years. The misdemeanor has a sentence of up to one year, McBrier said via email.

It took about an hour for the jury to reach its verdict, according to online court records. Hanley’s trial lasted two days.

Deputy Prosecutor A.J. Ennis represented the state in the case. South Bend-based attorney Michael J. Tuszynski was Hanley’s attorney.

According to court documents:

A Lakeville woman told officers she was with her German shepherd, Major, near Working Person’s Store, 305 S. Michigan St., the afternoon of Dec. 30.

The woman was picking up some trash when Major got away from her. The dog started running around and went to Hanley, jumping on him. Witnesses told officers that the dog seemed to be playing.

Major left Hanley and continued to run around the area. Hanley went to his car and got his 9mm handgun. By that time, the woman was able to regain control of Major.

The dog was sitting next to the woman, who was holding his leash, when Hanley fired two shots from 20-30 feet away. One of the bullets hit the dog between the eyes.

Hanley claimed Major bit him when the dog jumped on him. There was an 1/8-inch red mark near the bite site.

Lakeville police Chief Patrick Howard helped take Major to an animal hospital. Major survived.

As a condition of Hanley’s release from jail, he was ordered to surrender his guns to police.