Pensacola Man Charged in Horse Shooting Case

The Escambia County Sheriff's Department arrested Craig M. Smith, 24, of Pensacola, Fla., in connection with the April 17 shootings in Beulah, Fla., which left Desmond Davis' five dogs dead, nine horses either dead or in need of being euthanatized, and one horse injured. (To view the original article, see

According to the Pensacola News Journal (, Smith faces 13 felony counts of abuse--five counts for cruelty to animals resulting in a cruel death, and eight for killing or abusing horses. Also added to the list is one count of using a firearm while committing a felony, and two felony counts of armed trespassing.

Police already had Smith in custody on a possession of a firearm by a convicted felon when they charged him with the additional felonies. Police ballistics experts were able to link the .22 caliber pistol in his possession to the casings recovered from the Davis farm.

If convicted, Smith could receive a maximum of 15 years in prison for each horse that died as a result of the shooting, five years for each dog that died, five years for firearm possession by a felon, and five years for each count of trespassing with a firearm.

Police arrested Smith with the help of a Crime Stopper's tip, and according to the arrest report, Smith confessed to shooting rabbits on Davis' farm that evening with the .22 handgun. He said he then went back to his nearby home to get a shotgun and a flashlight before returning to the farm. He said he couldn't remember anything else about being on the property.

Linda Lambert, president of Panhandle Equine Rescue, said, "Our community, and hopefully the outside communities, will put pressure on the judge and the court to give him the maximum sentencing to show that this is a serious crime. If all the animals had to give their lives in order for this to be an example to the world, then and only then would this be the good to come out of it."

Lambert said his bail has been set at $500,000. "At least now people will be able to rest at night and not fear for their dogs or horses to be the next target," added Lambert.

Sheriff Ron McNesby said the department had six investigators working the case. He said there was no indication that Smith had an accomplice that night.

"This is one of the most horrible cases we've seen around here in a long time," McNesby said. "We're glad it has come to a close."

About the Author

Chad Mendell

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for .

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