Molokai man charged in shooting of dog

A Molokai man was arrested for shooting a dog on his driveway Monday after saying the animal had repeatedly gone onto his property, police said.

John Russel Phifer, 29, of Kaunakakai was released after posting $2,100 bail on charges of first-degree cruelty to animals, first-degree reckless endangering and not registering a firearm, according to police records.

The arrest occurred after Molokai police were assigned to respond to the area of Milepost 11 on Kamehameha V Highway at about 6 p.m. Monday, said Capt. John Jakubczak, commander of the Molokai Patrol District. The owner of the juvenile pitbull pointed out the person who shot the dog on its left shoulder.

Officers made contact with Phifer, who admitted to using a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle to shoot the dog after it walked into his garage and urinated on a cooler Monday, Jakubczak said. Phifer told police he didn’t want to kill the dog, only to hurt it, he said.

The animal ran back to its owner’s residence and the owner called police.

Phifer told officers he had talked to the owner several times about leashing the dog, and Phifer was upset that the dog kept going onto his property, rummaging through his trash and making a mess, Jakubczak said.

A police check of the rifle showed that it wasn’t registered, he said.