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ST. MARYS — An Erie man is facing animal cruelty charges after he allegedly tied a pit bull to a tree and shot him twice with a firearm in St. Marys.

Eric Neal Larner, 49, of Erie, is charged with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor in the second degree, and also was cited for cruelty to animals, according to a criminal complaint filed at Magisterial District Judge Mark Jacob's office June 26.

City of St. Marys Police, as well as representatives of the Elk County Humane Society and SMPD dog officer Debbie Constable, responded to Johnsonburg Road for reports of an injured pit bull limping alongside the road June 3. The dog was reportedly seriously injured when it was tied to a tree on state game lands, having chewed through his leash in distress.

The dog was captured and transported to a veterinarian in Kane, where he later recovered. Police identified its owners as Halim and Amy Patterson of Johnsonburg. The dog, named King, was allegedly aggressive and recently bit the Pattersons’ daughter.

Halim Patterson and Larner reportedly decided the dog should be put down, transporting King to the state game lands and tying him to a tree, where Larner allegedly shot him twice with a firearm.

The dog, not humanely executed, was left unattended with serious bodily injuries, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Larner reportedly failed to confirm the dog was dead before leaving, causing it to suffer from May 31 through June 3.

Larner’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 18 at Jacob’s office.

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