VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) – Nearly six months after a man shot, killed and buried his dog on the beach, a judge cleared him of an animal cruelty charge.
Michael Whalen, a Virginia Beach chiropractor, was visibly relieved after the decision.
“[The case] has been hanging over me like a black cloud because I'm not an animal abuser and that's what the charge was," Whalen said.
Whalen admitted to shooting his dog Allie in January.
He claimed his 15-year old companion was suffering from a seizure one early morning and shooting her was the only way to relieve her of the misery.
"I can't think of a quicker, more painless way of doing it," Whalen said.
Allie was found buried on a public beach on 85th street in February. This came after years of Allie’s struggle with a terminal illness called Cushing’s Disease, Whalen explained.
"I took her to the vet numerous times and tried to get her medication stabilized which we did," said Whalen.
Prosecutors argued the dog owner neglected getting proper emergency veterinarian care for Allie the night of the incident.
An animal control officer and city veterinarian testified in court Monday, explaining the grave condition of the dog when she was found.
Whalen’s defense argued the nearest open vet was too far away and shooting a dog for euthanasia purposes is not illegal in Virginia.
Whalen was fined $500 for illegal dumping.
He told 13News Now he’s happy to put the case behind him. His family and friends who filled the courtroom were also pleased with the judge’s decision.
"It was no doubt how much he loved that dog," said a family friend.
"If I'm guilty of anything, it's for loving her too much," Whalen said.