Hague man charged with shooting dog

HAGUE - A Hague man has been charged with cruelty to animals for allegedly shooting a neighbor's dog.

Lonnie F. Swinton Jr., 40, was charged with the misdemeanor count after an investigation into the Jan. 28 shooting of a black lab mix in woods off Graphite Mountain Road.

Swinton admitted shooting the dog with a .22-caliber rifle and told police he thought it was coyote. The rifle was equipped with a scope, according to the Warren County Sheriff's Office.

The dog was shot through the neck, and required surgery. It is owned by Mae Pagan.

Swinton is a felon because of a 2000 criminal possession of a controlled substance conviction in Essex County Court in connection with cocaine sales in Ticonderoga, police said. He was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison.

Felons are normally not allowed to possess weapons, but police said Swinton received a "certificate of relief from civil disabilities" that allows him to legally own a firearm.

He was released pending prosecution in Hague Town Court. He may also face charges in a state Department of Environmental Conservation investigation of the incident.

During the court proceeding animal rights supporters demonstrated outside.

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