Police officer expected to stand trial

HAGUE A Long Island police officer accused of illegally shooting a dog near his familys seasonal home in Hague will likely stand trial this fall.

The officer, John J. Sheehan, 36, has indicated he will not plead guilty in the case, according to the Warren County District Attorneys office.

Pre-trial hearings have been set for Sept. 26 and Oct. 24.

A trial before Bolton Town Justice Harry Demarest will be held after the Oct. 24 hearing, which will focus on the admissibility of statements Sheehan made to police about the shooting.

Sheehan, a patrol officer with the Suffolk County Police Department, was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and misdemeanor counts of shooting within 500 feet of a home and shooting across a road after he shot a 2-year-old boxer May 27, police said.

The dog had to be euthanized because of its injuries.

Sheehan told police he was defending himself as it ran toward him.

Police took notice, though, because Sheehan also shot and killed another neighbors dog in 2005 and his father, a retired police officer who owns a home on Route 8 in Hague, shot and killed a neighbors dog in recent years as well, according to the Warren County Sheriffs Office.

An investigation by sheriffs officers and a state conservation officer led to the conclusion Sheehan was not justified in shooting the dog, officials said. The dog apparently had accosted Sheehans girlfriend the day before, police said, and he went jogging or walking past the house the next day carrying a .38-caliber handgun.

The case was transferred to Bolton Town Court when Hague Town Justice Heather Knott recused herself.

Sheehan could face up to a year in Warren County Jail if convicted of the charges. He remains employed by the Suffolk County Police Department, pending the outcome of the criminal case.

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