Suspect arrested after dog is shot, beheaded

December 30, 2008 2:53:12 PM PST
The owner of the dog claims the animal was gentle, but the suspect's family paints a different picture. Humphrey, a Great Dane, was shot, killed and beheaded in a garage. Stanley Jablonka, 50, has been charged with the shooting. His brother is under investigation for then decapitating the dog with an ax, claiming he thought that was necessary for a rabies test.

The suspect's family says the concern was that Humphrey was acting aggressively because it had rabies.

Tracy Sturgess of Woodstock says she was staying at Jablonka's Stanfordville home when her Great Dane Humphry was killed sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday. The dog was kept chained in the garage.

Police said Humphrey was not threatening. The dog was disabled, they said.

The SPCA is testing the animal's remains to see if was indeed rabid, but experts point out aggression is not necessarily a symptom. Rabid animals initially show an unusual demeanor and can actually become shy. The tone of a dog's bark often changes, and there's usually a loss of appetite. The stereotypical foaming of the mouth is symptom of infection, not aggression and occurs in the final stages.

Officials also say the dog's rabies vaccinations were up to date and on file.

Jablonka is charged with a misdemeanor, but the case remains under investigation by the Dutchess County District Attorney's Office.

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