September 25, 2002
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, a man sitting in a tree stand struck a dog with an arrow in Port Murray, Warren County on Thursday, September 19. The suspect, 36-year-old Dean M. Sica of Port Murray, was charged with causing damage or injury to personal property of another and the careless discharge of a bow and arrow.
"This man's actions are inexcusable and an affront to all law abiding and conscientious bow and arrow hunters," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "The Division has in the past and will continue to make every effort to apprehend and prosecute individuals who commit such acts to the fullest extent of the law."
After being struck, the dog returned to its owner's house where it died. Division wildlife control staff originally thought the dog was attacked and killed by a bear until the wound was studied closer. Further investigation traced a ¼-mile blood trail to the empty tree stand where an arrow was found on the ground nearby. Conservation officers began an investigation and obtained the suspect's name by interviewing local hunters in the area. When confronted, the suspect denied involvement, but later admitted to shooting the animal stating he had thought it was a wild dog and was concerned for his safety. The suspect had been in a permanent tree stand, 15 feet above the ground. The arrow found on the ground near the stand was submitted to the Division's pathologist for analysis.
Sica was charged with causing damage or injury to personal property of another, which carries a fine of up to $2,000 and loss of hunting/fishing/trapping privileges for five years. If convicted, Sica would also be required to pay restitution to the dog owner. He was also charged with careless discharge of a bow and arrow, which carries a fine of $100-$500 and a 2-year suspension of hunting/fishing/trapping privileges. A preliminary court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7 in Mansfield Township. The Mansfield Township Police Department may file additional charges stemming from the incident.