MEDIA RELEASE: Florida Woman Who Shot Dog in the Head with Crossbow Gets Pitiful Sentence

MEDIA RELEASE: Florida Woman Who Shot Dog in the Head with Crossbow Gets Pitiful Sentence

Jacksonville, Fla. (April 21, 2021) – In Defense of Animals is extremely disappointed in the outcome of the trial of Ms. Wilson of Hilliard, Fla., who made headlines after shooting a dog in the head with a crossbow last May. Wilson faced up to five years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine but received a pitiful 15-day jail sentence and 12 months of probation.

Nearly 15,000 In Defense of Animals Supporters wrote to Florida State Attorney Melissa W. Nelson urging her to prosecute Wilson to the fullest extent of the law for shooting a neighboring dog through his head with a crossbow. 

“To say this outcome is disappointing would be a gross understatement,” said Doll Stanley, In Defense of Animals’ Justice for Animals Campaign Director. “It’s extremely frustrating to see the court system hand out such a weak sentence for the deliberately cruel and violent treatment of an innocent animal. The only silver lining here is that Unicorn survived and is now getting the care he deserves.”

An anonymous tip led deputies from the Nassau County Sheriff’s office to Wilson’s home in May 2020. After lying, Wilson finally admitted to shooting the Labrador Retriever with a crossbow, claiming he had harassed her chickens.

The 16” arrow that struck the dog was impaled in his head, protruding out both the front and the back. The dog, who was nicknamed Unicorn, was located and taken for emergency veterinary treatment. 

He was later surrendered to Nassau County Animal Services because his guardian couldn’t afford the resulting medical bills. He has since been placed in a loving forever home.

“It’s unbelievable that Unicorn survived this ordeal. He’s one incredibly lucky dog, who was literally less than an inch away from dying,” added Stanley. 

Unicorn survived being shot in the head with a crossbow and is now enjoying life with a new family. CREDIT: Nassau County Animal Services

Wilson appeared in front of the state’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Court on November 19, 2020, where she was charged with animal cruelty and faced a maximum fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years. She will now serve just 15 days in jail and will be on probation for 12 months. 

“Wilson, who pled not guilty in her first court appearance last June, sparked the ire of thousands of people who fight animal cruelty vigilantly, but sadly the court system has failed both the victim and our community,” added Stanley. “It’s especially disappointing that this shockingly soft sentence was handed out during Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week, which draws attention to the long-established link between animal abuse and criminal violence. Calls of justice for Unicorn resounded across our nation for the prosecution of animal abuse horrors. Crimes against animals must be taken seriously.”

In Defense of Animals has served animals and communities in the Deep South for 27 years. The organization carries out educational initiatives and directly rescues and rehomes abused, neglected, and homeless animals through its Hope Animal Sanctuary in Mississippi. Its Justice for Animals campaign aids law enforcement and courts to prevent, investigate and prosecute animal cruelty, and works with legislators to both create and improve animal protection laws.

Further information on the link between animal cruelty and human violence:


Contact: Doll Stanley,, (662) 809-4483 


In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education and campaigns as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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