Frantic 911 calls came in Saturday night as gunshots shattered the silence of a quiet neighborhood in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Neighbor Sue Connolly thought it was fireworks. But witnesses and prosecutors say 54-year-old Michael Sirois had tied up his dog, Kuma, in his backyard after she had gotten into a fight with another dog. Sirois allegedly fired six to eight shots at the Akita, killing her.
"This isn't an individual who shot the dog while he was being attacked in order to protect himself. He shot the dog after going inside, getting the gun, arguing with his family about shooting the dog or putting the dog down and then going outside and executing that animal," said prosecutor Haleigh Reisman.
But Sirois' defense attorney argued his client had been bitten by the dog, and that Akita had a history of attacking and biting people. He submitted photos of an attack on Sirois' son last month.
"We're dealing with an Akita who's extremely aggressive and got into a situation where he's defending himself, his family and his property and he did what he thought was right to make sure nobody else got hurt," attorney Thomas Gately said.
After he was released from custody, NBC10 Boston asked Sirois, "Why would you shoot your dog?"
Sirois had nothing to say as he left court, but multiple neighbors said they are concerned he was released.
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"To shoot a dog or to shoot anybody is terrible," said Connolly. "Something's not right, something's not right with this guy."
Sirois was charged with firearms offenses and animal cruelty.
He was released on $5,000 cash bail and ordered to have no contact with animals.