A jury Friday found Patrick Byrnes not guilty of cruelty to animals for shooting and killing a PIT BULL in April.
Byrnes, 32, of Idaho Falls, was charged April 8 with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and discharging a firearm in city limits.
A 12-person jury unanimously found Byrnes not guilty on both counts.
Byrnes’ attorney, Allen Browning, said the jury deliberated for about 90 minutes following the conclusion of the two-day trial.
“My perspective is it was crystal clear Pat was acting in self-defense as he was being attacked by a pit bull,” Browning said.
Idaho Falls Police responded to a call of a shot being fired April 1. Byrnes told the officers the dog, named Jack, was being aggressive so he shot it with a single-action .44 Magnum.
Byrnes has a concealed carry permit.
The dog’s owner, Marcus Beck, told the Post Register in April that the dog accidentally got out into the street and was untethered. Beck claimed the dog was friendly and was not acting aggressive toward Byrnes.
Browning said the only witness to the shooting was a neighbor who lived about 60 yards from where the shooting occurred. Browning argued that the witness was looking at her phone when the shooting happened and did not clearly see the incident.
“He had no desire to shoot the dog at all. And he wishes that didn’t happen,” Browning said. “I don’t care if the owners say the dog was nice to them, this (dog) attacked my client … and they were not in control of their dog.”