By Nicholas Gardner
FRESNO – Two dogs were killed here in Fresno, and one man—whose dog was one of those dead—is facing charges of killing the other dog, and threatening to kill the dog’s owner.
Daniel McDonald apparently, according to the district attorney, came home to find his service dog with a hole in his chest, lacerations to the snout, and severe internal injuries. Upon arrival at a local veterinarian’s office, McDonald learned that his dog would have to be put down.
Furious, McDonald drove back to his residence to confront the alleged victim, who had been leasing a bedroom from McDonald for around two years. The victim owned a dog, Hercules, and McDonald believed that dog to be responsible for the attack.
The prosecution’s narrative continued, noting that McDonald found the alleged victim, who was accompanied by his dog, on what the prosecution believed to be either a lawnmower or a tractor. McDonald approached the victim with a shotgun and screamed “if you get off the tractor I will blow your head off.”
McDonald then allegedly fired his shotgun, narrowly missing the victim and hitting the dog that was hiding behind the vehicle. After a short argument McDonald fired the weapon a second time, killing the victim’s dog.
Charges brought against McDonald include assault with a firearm, threatening to commit a crime which would result in death or great bodily injury, negligently firing a weapon, and animal cruelty.
To Judge Heather Mardel Jones’ surprise, the prosecution had not yet brought forth charges for felon in possession of a firearm. In 1975, McDonald had been charged with voluntary manslaughter in what he described as self-defense against assailants attempting to rob him. The felony conviction bars McDonald from owning a firearm.
Judge Jones said the severity of charges brought against McDonald stem from his obvious neglect of the witness’ wellbeing. Also of great concern to the court was the fact that McDonald’s 1975 conviction also involved the use of a firearm.
The shotgun has still not been found. It belongs to the victim, who had given it to McDonald for “self-defense.”
McDonald has been remanded into custody and referred to Pretrial Services. Bail is set at $307,500.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for August 25 in Department 30. A pre-pretrial hearing also will be held on August 7, where the court will hear Pretrial Services’ assessment of McDonald’s case.
In the meantime, a criminal protective order has been filed against McDonald, preventing him from making any contact with the victim. McDonald will be given 24 hours to turn over any firearms in his possession to law enforcement or to a federally licensed firearm dealer for sale.
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