Case involving dog killed by a boat propeller on Lake Martin will go to a Grand Jury

Local News

ELMORE CO., Ala. (WRBL) – A North Alabama family is turning to social media claiming their 2-year old Boxer “Cletus” suffered a violent death after being intentionally run over by a Lake Martin boater.

Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin confirms the dog was killed instantly near Goat Island on Lake Martin back on July 16th when he was hit by a boat propellor.  

Sheriff Franklin says the dog’s family filed a police report claiming the boat driver yelled profanity saying dogs were not allowed near Goat Island. Cletus’ owners say the boat driver intentionally backed over Cletus and killed him.
         
Elmore Co. investigators found evidence to bring a criminal charge against the boat driver and identified him. Sheriff Franklin says the Elmore County District Attorney decided a Class A Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals was the proper charge. However, Sheriff Franklin says the dog’s family wants a felony charge and won’t sign the misdemeanor warrant.

Sheriff Franklin says an arrest can’t be made until a warrant is signed. So, the case will be presented to a grand jury. The grand jury is slated to meet in October. Sheriff Franklin says he is confident the grand jury will return an indictment and it will be up to them to decide if the charge should be a misdemeanor or a felony.

We have reached out to Cletus’ family for a comment. Sonya McGowan, who knows the family shared this public post on her Facebook Page, including some information about Cletus being in the water with one of the goats from Goat Island.

“This is for my BEST FRIEND and her family…

“What started out as a beautiful summer day on the lake with friends unexpectedly turned into the worst day of my life.  On Monday, July 16, 2018, the life of our beloved family pet, a two year old boxer named Cletus, was brutally and unnecessarily ended in the waters off Goat Island on Lake Martin, Alabama.  Our family is from Woodstock Alabama and we visit our friends often at their lake cabin on Lake Martin.

Monday close to sundown while we were playing/exploring on goat island, my mom suddenly saw Cletus and a goat in the water approximately 10-20 yards from each other.  Cletus was struggling in the water to swim, the goat was swimming closer to shore.  My mom was concerned for both of the animals so she and our friends started the engine on their boat to go rescue the animals moving cautiously towards them.  A man in a pontoon boat suddenly appeared blocking my mom and our friends boat from their path of rescue to Cletus and the goat.  The man driving the pontoon boat asked the adults on the boat if this was their dog.  At first it appeared that the man on the pontoon boat was going to save both animals.  However, after he pulled closer up he ran right over our boxer and went straight for the goat.  The tired and now injured Cletus bobbed up out of the water after getting hit and struggled to try and climb up on the pontoon boat.  My mom and our friends were yelling cut your motor off, cut you motor off”, the man replied as he lifted the goat onto his boat, “I don’t give a damn about your dog”. Despite the desperate pleas to turn his motor off, He did not attempt to get Cletus on his boat or turn his motor off.  He put his boat in reverse and Cletus went straight into his motor.  A dark pool of blood appeared instantly along with chunks of Cletus’ body that immediately floated to the surface.  Cletus was gone, killed senselessly from an evil man without any remorse.  One witness to the slaying states”It was a bloodbath, horrific, cruel and preventable.” …

All of Cletus’s family members are devastated. Not only did they loose a precious, sweet family pet; they had to see him being mutilated in front of their eyes.  This family will never be able to forget the brutality of the traumatic death of their pet. It was unnecessary, unwarranted and inhumane. Please pray that this family will get justice for this horrific crime.

PETA has been contacted
Elmore County Sheriff’s Department has NOT yet been helpful.”


Recently, there’s been some controversy on Goat Island, a favorite destination for boaters to visit and feed goats on Lake Martin.  A sign says dogs are not allowed on the island, to protect the goats. However, the owners of the goats say dogs are still being brought to the island and at one point had posted on FB they would be removing the goats.  We did reach out to the owner of the goats, who say they have nothing to do with this incident and they’ve decided the goats will stay on the island for now.

We will keep you updated on this story.

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