Police: Dog defecating in yard leads to shooting

Published 12:36 am Sunday, March 27, 2011

An argument between two armed neighbors over a dog and its feces escalated to a shootout in rural Mississippi, sending one neighbor to the hospital with injuries from shotgun pellets and the other neighbor to jail.

Terry Tenhet, 52, told The Associated Press he was struck Wednesday in both hands, the shoulder, chest and side by the spray of pellets from shotgun blasts fired by his neighbor, Jerry Blasingame, 60. The wounds are not life-threatening.

Washington County Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Deputy Billy Barber said Tenhet was angry at Blasingame because he thought Blasingame’s mixed-breed dog had defecated in his lawn.

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Each man described his side of the argument and shootout to The Associated Press.

Tenhet says he was friends with Blasingame and only went over to his house to complain in general about the dog feces in his lawn — not to accuse him — and encountered a drunk and irate neighbor.

Blasingame told the AP that they argued because Tenhet shot his dog last week and threatened to kill him and his dog “over poop.”

Tenhet denies shooting the dog: “I said ’Jerry, your dog ain’t even dead. He said ’Just meet me at the levee and I’ll shoot you down.’”

Blasingame said he got a gun and left the house in his truck, hoping Tenhet would follow so there would be no confrontation in front of bystanders.

Tenhet did not follow and said Blasingame returned to the neighborhood from a different direction in an apparent attempt to ambush him.

The men dispute what happened next.

Blasingame says Tenhet was armed when he returned to the neighborhood: “(Tenhet) said, ’Point that gun at me.’ I said, ’No, point that gun at me.’ He shot twice. I returned fire.” 

Tenhet says he was unarmed when Blasingame returned and told Tenhet he was going to shoot him: “I said, man, do what you gotta do” before Blasingame opened fire.

Tenhet said he grabbed his pistol from his nearby car and returned fire. Tenhet says he dropped his weapon after being struck in both thumbs by shotgun pellets.

Blasingame was charged with aggravated assault. Tenhet could also face charges.

Barber, the chief deputy, said the shooting was senseless.

“Homeowners and property owners need to respect each other’s property. Don’t let your dogs do that on other people’s yards,” he said. “Then, at the same time, if a dog did do that in your yard, call the law. Don’t take make matters into your own hands.”