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Authorities arrested a Tabiona town councilman Friday for shooting and killing a neighbor's 9-month-old teacup chihuahua, police said.
Rick E. Wilberg, 58, was arrested after he admitted to killing his neighbor's dog with a .22-caliber rifle. The dog, named Rocky, belonged to Peggy Redmiles, whose three-quarter acre lot shares a fence line with Wilberg's property.
Redmiles said she had left the house to collect fence supplies when her son heard what he thought sounded like firecrackers. But when he walked outside, their puppy was dead from a single gunshot.
"I am terrified. I am angry. He was like my baby," she said. "I am so scared to let my other dogs go in the backyard, and the only thing that was separating my yard from my neighbors with small children was a chain-link fence."
Police reported that children had been playing nearby when Wilberg shot the dog. When police spoke with Wilberg, he admitted to shooting the dog, saying "he had been sick of listening to the dog bark and warned her [Redmiles] and she done nothing about the dog so he shot the dog," the police report states. The report also states that Wilberg had been drinking.
Attempts to reach the councilman Monday morning were unsuccessful.
Redmiles, who moved into her home six years ago, describes her relationship with Wilberg becoming contentious about three years ago, for reasons she still doesn't understand. She said that he complained about her chicken coop, over-watering her garden and the noises her swimming pool made. She said she has since gotten rid of the chickens and garden, and turns the pool off at night to try to keep the peace.
"I live here, I pay my taxes here, all my neighbors like me," Redmiles said. "We just thought, 'Oh, he's just a grumpy old man.' I told my boys to smile and wave at him and maybe he'll get over it. We thought we could kill him with kindness. But what, killing him with kindness gets my dog dead?"
Wilberg was booked into the Duchesne County Jail on suspicion of animal cruelty, a third-degree felony, and for public intoxication. Ronnie Giles, mayor of Tabiona, said Wilberg has a court appearance Monday.
Tribune reporter Roxana Orellana contributed to this article.