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Plea hearing scheduled Wednesday in shooting death of Virginia vet’s service dog

Crystal Graham

buddyThe case involving a service dog that was shot and killed by a neighbor on Sept. 15 in Augusta County continues its trek through the legal process.

Louis Edward Davis Jr., 67, will appear for a plea hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in Augusta County Circuit Court.

Davis is accused of killing Buddy Bear, a service dog owned by Joeseph and Edith Sande, who had moved to Virginia only weeks before their husky’s untimely and unprovoked death. Joeseph Sande is a military vet with service in Afghanistan, Bagram, Kuwait and Iraq.

Davis faces two charges: a Class 6 felony for cruelty to animals; and a Class 1 misdemeanor for reckless handling of a firearm.

The Sandes said after talking with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kyle Powers today, they expect Davis to plead “not guilty” to both charges.

Davis was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 22 in the incident.

The defense may waive a jury trial if a trial before a judge, known as a bench trial, is preferred.

A trial date will likely be set on Wednesday.

According to Virginia law, if found guilty on the animal cruelty felony charge, the sentence for Davis could include one to five years in prison. The misdemeanor charge could include confinement in jail for up to 12 months.

According to court testimony, Buddy Bear was allegedly shot and killed by Davis with a .44 Magnum revolver on Sept. 15 in the Cherry Orchard subdivision.

The Sandes were granted a protective order against Davis and his wife, Teresa Griffin Davis, through May 28.

Davis was behind bars for 10 days after his arrest. His bond was originally denied in Augusta County General District Court but was granted on appeal in Circuit Court on Sept. 26. As part of the bond agreement, Davis is not allowed to return to his home.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.