The Bellingham Herald reported yesterday that Corgi owners worldwide are showing their support for a Bellingham, Washington dog who was slain in her own yard – and they’re asking for the strongest penalty for her killer. Molly, a Pembroke Welsh corgi, was shot in front of her family by a neighbor who was upset about barking dogs. Molly had not been barking.
Neighbor David William Latham, 55, armed with a rifle, walked over to Molly’s home on Sept. 13, peered over her fence, and shot her in the chest. According to the charges, Latham “appeared to be fairly intoxicated and had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.”
Thirteen-month-old Molly had been spending time with her family, Cary Chunyk and Loyce Andrews. The incident occurred on Saturday night as the family relaxed in their backyard.
“I was just standing right here. He just leaned over the fence, put the barrel of the gun to our female dog’s chest, and pulled the trigger,” Chunyk stated. “It was awful,” added Chunyk’s wife, Loyce Andrews.
Stunned, Chunyk yelled at the shooter, but Latham raised the rifle. The family was unable to take Molly to the veterinarian, as authorities asked them to stay home until the gunman was apprehended. Her family cradled Molly for her final moments. She bled for thirty minutes before she finally succumbed to her injuries.
Andrews could see that her dog was suffering. She stated: “I wanted to get her into the car and get her on the road. I’ve had animals all my life, and it was obvious she was seriously hurt.”
A Whatcom County veterinarian who performed a necropsy on Molly stated that the dog was likely in great pain as she passed away. On Friday, Latham was charged with animal cruelty in the first degree, criminal trespassing in the second degree, and brandishing a weapon.
Latham was also ordered to surrender his own beagle. According to Latham’s attorney, Adrian Madrone, his client is “extremely regretful and remorseful for his actions.” Latham is scheduled to be in court again on Oct. 26.
In the wake of the shooting, supporters created a Facebook page called “Justice for Molly the Corgi.” Supporters have spearheaded a letter writing campaign asking the Whatcom County prosecutors’ office to seek the harshest penalty against Latham.
The page has received thousands of likes in the days that it was created. A post from Sept. 17 stated: “When writing letters, push for the harshest penalties for this case but BE RESPECTFUL.”
Those who would like to contact the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office can do so by writing to Shannon Connor. Reference case # 14-1-01044-6 (David William Latham) and send a letter to 311 Grand Ave. #201, Bellingham, Wash., 98225.
Molly’s family has received an outpouring of support from animal advocates – and they hope that Molly’s tragic death inspires the creation of more powerful animal cruelty laws. According to current state law, RCW 16.52.205 animal cruelty in the first degree, a person is guilty of animal cruelty if he or she intentionally inflicts substantial pain on, causes physical injury to, or kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forces a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal.