http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp?s=12609220&clienttype=printable Chicken owner fatally shoots dog in Wilson Co. Posted: Jun 07, 2010 4:17 PM Dan McChurch William Belate LEBANON, Tenn. Legal proceedings might be looming for two Wilson County families after a beloved pet was shot and killed. The incident happened on May 29 and resulted in the death of Dan McChurch's five-year-old German shorthair, Rocky. According to McChurch, Rocky got loose and was shot and killed by William Belate. Belate lives nearby and told authorities he shot the dog after he attacked and killed his chickens. McChurch tried to press charges but the Wilson County judicial commissioner refused because Belate claims the dog attacked livestock, and under the law, that is a reasonable defense. According to the incident report filed with the Wilson County Sheriff's Department, Rocky broke through his electric fence and made his way to Belate's property on Tyree Access Road, off Highway 109 North. The next day, McChurch's 27-year-old son, Tyler, found Rocky buried in a shallow grave across from Belate's home. The dog had reportedly been shot three times. The sheriff's report indicates that after Tyler McChurch found the gravesite, he and Belate got into a physical altercation. The report also indicates the younger McChurch pushed Belate, who then struck him with pliers. The wound required two stitches. Belate told deputies he shot the dog after the animal killed his chickens. Tennessee law states that if a dog kills or damages any livestock, the owner of the dog shall be liable. The law also states that killing or injuring the dog for such action is a reasonable defense as long as the livestock owner can show "satisfactory proof" of that attack. The law, according to McChurch, does nothing to protect pets. "I understand a coyote but this dog had a collar and a receiver," he said. "He shot someone's pet at expense of some chickens. He had other options. He could have called the sheriff. He could have shot in the air. Rocky was shot in the street." Belate said while it is unfortunate things ended as they did, he saw the Rocky attack his chickens and did what he had to do. "I feel sorry for their loss, however I have to protect my property, what is mine," he said. "The sooner they accept that the better off it will be. As far as I am concerned, it is done." When asked how the dog got buried in his yard, Belate replied, "That is the weirdest thing." He said a girl from another nearby home came with a shovel and buried the dog. McChurch said he plans to files a civil suit. In the meantime, Belate said he filed a police report after someone slashed his wife's tires. McChurch said his family had nothing to do with that.