GRAPHIC: Man shoots six puppies in the head, throws them over cliff, police say

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 11:07 AM CST
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Warning: The following story has very graphic details and may be disturbing to some readers.

COWEN, W.Va (WDTV) - A Webster County man has been charged after authorities said he shot six puppies in the head and threw them over a cliff.

Officers were dispatched to a home on Brewster Ridge Rd. in Cowen Wednesday afternoon and spoke with two victims who said the neighbor’s dogs injured and killed their chickens, according to a criminal complaint.

When officers arrived at the scene, they reported seeing one dead chicken and “multiple others with chunks of flesh and feathers missing along with the fence being [torn] down where the dogs entered the chicken yard.”

One of the victims told authorities 40-year-old Jeremy Smallwood, of Cowen, went to her home during the attack and said he “was taking the dogs and killing them.” He then put the dogs in his truck and left the home.

The report says officers left to find Smallwood, and later pulled him over. He told officers “his dogs had killed the neighbor’s chickens and he took the dogs to get rid of them.”

When officers noticed a pellet rifle in the back seat of the truck, they asked Smallwood where he took the dogs. He told them the dogs were “taken care of.”

Two children that were also in the truck then told authorities “they [were] shot and put over the hill.”

West Virginia State Police joined officers in searching for the dogs, according to court documents. They went to a spot on Bishop Knob Rd. and “could hear what sounded like dogs yelping.”

Authorities reportedly went to the edge of the cliff and saw three dogs about 60 feet over a cliff. When they found a way over the embankment, they saw six puppies that were three-to-four months old yelling and whimpering, “all of which had shot wounds to the head.”

The report says police were able to get the puppies over the cliff and called for the dog warden to transport them.

Four of the dogs were taken to the Webster County Animal Shelter to be euthanized due to their injuries, and two others were taken to the Nicholas County Animal Hospital in hopes of treatment. Authorities said one of the dogs died while being taken to the hospital, and the other remains in critical condition.

Officers said “it appeared all 6 dogs had been shot in the head with a pellet rifle multiple times and then thrown over the hill/cliff.”

Smallwood has been charged with six counts of cruelty to animals. He is being held at Central Regional Jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond.