Victory! Woman Sentenced to 5 Years of Prison Plus Fines for Shooting Her 2 Dogs With a BB Gun Repeatedly
We are absolutely thrilled to report one of the best court outcomes we’ve seen yet for one of the cases we’ve been working on. We wholeheartedly applaud the recent ruling in the case of two dogs who were shot repeatedly with a BB gun by their abusive guardian in Hernando County, Florida last year.
The woman, Jamie Lynn Kujawa, pleaded no contest to felony aggravated cruelty for shooting two of her three dogs many times, resulting in 173 pellets between them lodged in their legs, paws, torsos, and heads. She was sentenced to 5 years in prison, in addition to a fine and court costs that totaled $2663.83.
The help of In Defense of Animals’ supporters was invaluable! We sent Assistant State Attorney Conrad Juergensmeyer our letter with more than 15,000 signatures seeking justice for the abused dogs.
Here’s the background on this case. On April 19, 2022, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Department initiated an investigation into a complaint by a neighbor who reported hearing a BB gun firing about 15 times over a span of 45 minutes and dogs yelping.
The responding animal control officer inspected the dogs, noting scarring on the dogs’ paws and fresh wounds on one of the dogs' paws. Kujawa lied and told the ACO that the dogs recently fought and that she used a hose to break up the fight. The ACO gave Kujawa a verbal warning for failure to give her dogs state-mandated rabies vaccinations. He instructed her to have the dogs vaccinated within 10 days and have proof that a veterinarian treated the one dog with visibly fresh wounds.
On April 20, the ACO and a deputy returned to follow up and spoke with the neighbor to confirm his earlier statement that he heard the dogs’ abuse.
The deputy peered through Kujawa’s fence and saw the three dogs limping. The officers requested to see the dogs and proof of vaccination. This time two of the dogs had visible wounds to their paws. The officers were unable to examine the dogs’ feet because they didn’t want to be touched. The officers left, instructing Kujawa to follow through with their directive to have her dogs vaccinated and have their feet treated.
The ACO did check on the dogs during the week, and on April 28, Kujawa called the sheriff’s office to inquire about the county’s surrender policy, stating that she did not have the finances to vet the dogs.
On May 3, Kuiawa surrendered two of the three dogs to Hernando County Animal Services. X-rays of the first dog revealed 61 BBs and 19 lead pellets lodged in the dog's feet, legs, torso, and head. When the second dog was X-rayed, the veterinarian counted 71 BBs and 22 lead pellets lodged in the feet, legs, torso, and head. Collectively, the dogs suffered the impact of 173 projectiles that penetrated their skin, causing irritation and pain.
On May 10, Kujawa was arrested on multiple counts of felony Aggravated Animal Cruelty, case #2022-13665. Kujawa admitted to shooting the dogs with a gas-powered pellet gun for two months because they were trying to dig out of the yard. Kujawa’s remaining animals were seized, including three cats, a ferret, a bird, and a third dog. These animals were also vetted to determine if they were abused.
Controlling dog behavior with brutality is counter-productive and cruel. Individuals who use violence to control animals are a danger to animals and a person’s fellow humans. A component of sentencing must be mental health evaluation and treatment to prevent further behavior of this kind.