On March 12, 1-year-old Pit Bull Terrier–Labrador Retriever mix Tank was shot and killed in his neighbor’s backyard. Tank’s family, including 21-year-old single mother Richele Ince and her 4-year-old daughter, are demanding justice, and the public is echoing their outrage after the perpetrator posted a disturbing selfie on his Facebook page of him posing next to Tank’s dead body.
Richele Ince first brought Tank home one year ago, when he was just a puppy. Tank was meant to be her daughter’s new best friend, and Ince says the gentle dog relished his role. He was a playful puppy, a sweet boy, and had become something of a mascot at her daughter’s daycare center nearby, where he’d often visit to kiss and snuggle with the children.
Ince says she was working at her Walmart job March 12 when she got a call from a family member letting her know Tank was missing. She purchased a dog lead from the store and rushed home to retrieve her loose dog. But by the time she made it to her neighborhood, Ince got the tragic news — Tank had been shot and killed by one of her neighbors.
Ridge, Maryland resident Kenneth Woodburn insists Tank charged him. But before Woodburn actually shot Tank, he allegedly posted an ominous status update to his Facebook page, saying that if the dog came into his yard, “Hey going to dye today” (sic.). Ince explains that Tank suffered gunshot wounds in the back, indicating that her dog may have tried to run away from Woodburn when he was killed.
Ince tells TheBayNet.com she believes Tank was likely walking to the daycare center that fateful day before he was shot crossing Woodburn’s yard.
The incident is now the subject of an investigation by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff and St. Mary’s Animal Control Departments. Woodburn stands to face a steep penalty should he be charged with animal cruelty, which is now a felony in the state of Maryland.
If Woodburn is brought up on charges, this incident wouldn’t be his first run in with the law. In 2010, he was fined after pleading guilty for hunting without a license. He’s been arrested for driving while under the influence, possession of marijuana, and possession of an unregistered firearm. He’s pled guilty to a charge of theft under $1,000 and was given a suspended 60-day jail sentence. Woodburn also still has an open pending case against him for negligent driving.
Last week, Tank was laid to rest at his favorite place — the daycare facility he loved so much. Ince says one of Tank’s little buddies was so heartbroken when he learned of Tank’s passing that he lay on Tank’s grave, crying for his four-legged friend.
Richele Ince’s cousin has since started a petition calling for the St. Mary’s County States Attorney’s Office to move forward with charges against Woodburn. The petition has more than 9,000-signatures.