Seark Today’s Patty Wooten beat me to the punch with the news of a Lincoln County jury’s award of $145,000 Wednesday to a man whose hunting dog was shot dead while on a leash after treeing a coon on another man’s land. From the account:
Newell Gill and three hunting companions, Mackie Edmonds, Lee Edward McGriff, and Darrel McGee, all of Star City, were coon hunting in late 2012 on the North Branch of White River National Refuge in Monroe County when their dogs crossed over onto private property and treed a raccoon.
The dogs had trailed and treed raccoons that were attracted to corn dispensed by deer corn feeders on the landowner’s property, according to Gill’s attorney, Charles Sidney Gibson of Dermott.
Gibson said coon dogs cannot be called off once they tree; they have to be pulled off by hand and leashed.
Though there were posted signs on the property, there was no phone number to call for permission to retrieve the dogs. “The hunters rightfully put away their guns and went to retrieve the dogs,” Gibson said.
When they did so, they encountered an irate man armed with a rifle.
The man, Frank Newby of Holly Grove, threatened to shoot the dogs and the hunters if they attempted to retrieve the dogs.
Over Newby’s objections, Gill retrieved his dog, a 4-year-old treeing walker named Buck, and leashed him.
Newby then ordered Gill to back away from the dog so he could shoot him. Gill refused and the man shot the leashed dog.
Attorney Gibson said that Gill still has nightmares about the night. According to the account, Newby was earlier convicted of a misdemeanor in the case.
The jury awarded $5,000 for personal injury; $25,000 for the tort of outrage; $5,000 for destruction of personal property and $100,000 punitive damages.
Charles Sidney Gibson’s son, Chuck, who related the story to me earlier this week, said the jury was out 40 minutes. He said the dog, Buck, was a treeing Walker coonhound. It was valued at $10,000. Chuck Gibson said the plaintiffs had said that Newby also wanted the other dog released from its kennel so it could be shot, too.