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Morganton man admits to shooting, killing dog in Caldwell County
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Morganton man admits to shooting, killing dog in Caldwell County

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COLLETTSVILLE — A Morganton man received a felony charge after he admitted to shooting a dog Sunday, something he claimed was in self-defense.

Joshua Wayne Hawley, 35, of Morganton, was charged Tuesday with felony cruelty to animals, according to a press release from the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.

Charges against Hawley came after deputies responded to Betsey’s Ole Country Store on N.C. 90 in Collettsville on Sunday after it was reported that a dog had been shot and killed at the store, the release said.

Erica Penley told investigators that a gray minivan had pulled up to the stop sign at N.C. 90 and Brown Mountain Beach Road before an occupant got out of the van and shot her dog, the release said.

“You can’t describe something like this. It’s a horrendous act,” Penley told The News Herald's news partner, WSOCTV reporter Dave Faherty. “Worst thing I’d see him do is drool on your feet wanting to eat your hot dog.”

The dog, Rocky, which WSOCTV reported was a 120-pound Rottweiler, was found dead on the porch of the store from multiple gunshot wounds, the release said.

Investigators responded to the store and processed the crime scene, gathering images from surveillance footage from the store.

An occupant of the van contacted the sheriff’s office Monday and told investigators Hawley had been the one to shoot Rocky, the release said.

In an interview with CCSO investigators, Hawley admitted to shooting the dog and claimed that the dog had attacked him. He also admitted to leaving the scene of the shooting without reporting it to anyone.

Investigators obtained a warrant for felony cruelty to animals and arrested Hawley on Tuesday, the release said.

He did not appear to have any previous criminal convictions, according to a records check on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website.

Hawley’s bond was set at $10,000 secured. He had a court appearance set for Wednesday.

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