Crime and Justice

Sharon animal control officer resigns after allegedly shooting German shepherd in Tunbridge

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8:14 a.m. to reflect the latest story by Darren Marcy that appeared in the Valley News on May 17. An earlier version reflected a story that first appeared in the Valley News on May 16.

The Tunbridge man facing a cruelty to animals charge related to the shooting death of a German shepherd has resigned from his position as an animal control officer in the town of Sharon.

Damon Dyer, 31, was suspended without pay on Friday in a special meeting of the Sharon Selectboard.

Dyer’s suspension was based on the town’s personnel policy: “Conduct that impairs the efficiency and effectiveness of town government, or which could cause public mistrust of an employee’s professionalism.”

At the board’s regularly scheduled meeting Monday, board chairman Kevin Gish announced Dyer’s resignation following an executive session called for personnel reasons.

“I would like to acknowledge the resignation of our animal control officer, effective today,” Gish said.

There was no additional comment.

Dyer is expected to be arraigned on one count of cruelty to animals in Orange Superior Court on June 29 following an investigation by the Vermont Warden Service into the shooting of Scout, an 11-year-old dog that lived across the road from where she was shot.

Steve Mortillo with his dog, Scout, in a photograph he posted on Facebook on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Steve Mortillo

Scout was last seen April 20 when she was let out and didn’t return. Her owner, Steve Mortillo, found her body April 23.

The investigating warden, Sgt. Jeff Whipple, said the incident has been mischaracterized on social media by both sides of the emotional debate. He said the incident was easily preventable and served as a reminder for a shooter to be positive about the identity of a target but described Dyer as taking responsibility and was remorseful.

Dyer posted a short comment on his Facebook page on May 10, “People who know me, know animals are my life.”

The post has 146 comments, the overwhelming majority of which are in support of Dyer.

Dyer was appointed to the $30-per-hour, on-call, part-time animal control officer position in mid-March after no Sharon residents expressed interest in the job.

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