Cat Owner Kills Two Dogs Who Killed His Cat

This was a terrible mistake. This 68-year-old man, Stephen Nichols Cook, lost control of himself and as a result he may lose his liberty. I don’t think this possibility is out of the question.

The authorities say that a Virginia man, Mr Cook, became a vigilante and took the law into his own hands and killed two Labrador retrievers (Yancey and Maggie May) owned by his neighbour because the dogs had killed one of his cats, Jeffrey. The dogs were in a pick up truck when they were shot.

Other neighbors have witnessed the antagonism between Mr Cook and a nearby property owner Arthur Hamrick which had been fuelled by arguments over Cooke’s cats and Hamrick’s dogs.

The arguments spilled over into violence first by Hamrick’s dogs and then a revenge killing by Cook of those dogs. I wonder if Hamrick deliberately encouraged his dogs to attack Cook’s cat. He says that is allowed to let them roam free because cats are allowed to roam free. That is a poor argument because dogs are far more dangerous to people than cats. There is probably a law against it in Virginia.

Mr Cook has been convicted of two misdemeanour charges in connection with the killings (brandishing a firearm and recklessly handling of a firearm) and the judge has sent felony charges (recklessly shooting at a vehicle and two counts of cruelty to animals) against Cook to a grand jury. It looks as though he might be tried on felony charges which will probably carry a prison sentence on conviction.

Cooke’s attorney said that his client was remorseful and that he was sorry that the dogs had been killed. His behavior should be seen in the context of his grief and the loss of his cat. He has appealed the misdemeamour convictions.

We can understand Mr Cooke’s feelings. I don’t think he would have taken the action that he did if there had not been a long-standing dispute with his neighbor.


What the report on does not discuss (and it should discuss it) is the potentially criminal behaviour of Mr Hamrick in not taking sufficient control of his dogs or setting them upon Cook’s cat.

Vicariously he has committed criminal damage against his neighbour as an item of property of his neighbour has been destroyed in a strict legal sense. I don’t know the law of Virginia with respect to dogs being out of control but there may well be legislation which governs this and which places a responsibility upon dog owners to keep their dogs under control at all times when in public places. (The Roanoke Times) states that the dogs killed Jeffrey on Cook’s property:

Deborah Cook (Mr Cook’s wife) said that she heard something thump into the outside of the house and looked out a window.

“It was the two dogs. One of them had Jeffrey in his mouth” and was shaking the cat back and forth, she said.

It seems to me that Hamrick also committed a crime. Why hasn’t this been dealt with?

P.S. Sorry there are no pictures of the protagonists to illustrate the article.

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6 thoughts on “Cat Owner Kills Two Dogs Who Killed His Cat”

  1. As someone who lost at least ten feral cats and kittens from my feral cat colony (before I knew of TNR) to two german shepard dogs, two insane animals who killed for fun, two dogs who regularly escaped their yard where they were left unattended, from owners who ignored that they would escape and would then lie to animal control about those escapes, I cannot entirely disagree with this man’s actions. If I had a small gun with a silencer, and if I had any sort of skill, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same. I certainly had a sturdy broom with me at all times when those dogs were running loose as they had chased me, in my own yard, with intent to hurt. They even chased a little girl up a tree one day, and the female dog was seen killing a deer. Not a stretch to see them kill a person. In that case it would be self defense to shoot and injure or kill the dogs.

    It falls on the owner of any dogs, especially if here where there was some long dispute between them, to properly control those animals. It’s possible that they escaped their yard, if they were properly confined at all, but their owner may have allowed them to free roam.

    If this is or would be listed on Facebook, I can bet that a large amount of comments would probably say that the dogs aren’t at fault, they’re just innocent animals who didn’t know what they did. Bull. They know what they did. Dog squeaky toys train and encourage such behavior, of treating smaller animals as toys. We unfortunately have a small breed dog in the house, he belongs to my sister, and I remove the squeaker of all of his toys.

    I don’t trust dogs around cats. It comes from a lot of trauma, which includes seeing that female shepard in my yard (parents won’t get it fenced) with a dead kitten in her mouth. Seeing them chasing cats and kittens and even people, yet nothing was ever done to those dogs. Luckily, I don’t see them anyone. Maybe one or both are dead from old age. I could care less, just that I don’t see them. Animals are safe again. But due to them, I don’t like dogs and I don’t trust big breed dogs and especially not *that* breed. All because one family was too irresponsible. Shepards are favored by the police for a reason. They’re dangerous in the wrong hands.

    The cat’s owner should also have been on guard. Not let his cat out. Been more careful!!!! Especially if you have an immature, self centered neighbor. I know those types of people, and they don’t give one two or three craps about your feelings or if they have hurt you. They don’t care.

    I don’t think this man should have to face any charged except maybe accidental discharge of his firearm. The dogs killed on his property and they destroyed his property by killing the cat. I hate referring to a beloved pet as property, but they are. Such a tough thing to decide on. I just hope that the dog owner is similarly charged for allowing his dogs to roam free and kill his cat.

    Ultimately, it’s the cat that paid the price for two people arguing and unable to ignore each other. I’m saying prayers for the cat, that he may rest peacefully.

  2. Most municipalities have laws about roaming dogs, as opposed to roaming cats. It’s just common sense that you cannot herd cats. Also, I would use the terms protagonist and antagonist in this case. But vigilantism is what happens when the law doesn’t do its job, when justice is not served. In the case of people who torture animals, where there is no question that it occurred, I wish a vigilante would step forward and do to the human what they did to the cat or dog or whatever… break a bone, cut off a limb, skin them… Which may be the only way to make potential torturers think twice. But that is not acceptable, because the wheels of justice turn slowly, and therefore, it is not served and people become frustrated.

    • Agreed. Oftentimes mixes of labs and pits are just called labs, just to help them get adopted, or for acceptance by the public. Labs are usually docile, but one never knows when two dogs get together what may happen, regardless of breed.

  3. If Stephen’s cat had been a farm animal, there wouldn’t be a problem with this. I’m pretty sure that it’s legal to hunt down and kill a neighbor’s dogs who kill your (farm) animal, even if they are back on their own property. If that is true, then it’s just a matter of semantics and politics. And just for the record, as this is reported here, I’d have done the same thing even after considering the consequences. The more attention this kind of thing gets, the more it may be addressed so it doesn’t happen as often… so that fewer people’s loving pets don’t get torn apart in the first place.


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