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Dog shooting case update: Siblings ordered to perform community service, but not at Wadena Humane Society

McGivern Park landing is north of Staples, near the site where a dog was found dead, still wearing a collar and leash. Pioneer Journal file photo

A brother and sister from Staples were recently sentenced for their involvement in shooting and killing a family dog and leaving it in a county park, while posting a video of the incident on social media in February.

The siblings Josiah W. Shegstad and Tayiah V. Shegstad were convicted separately for their roles in the incident. They both made an agreement to plead guilty to both counts of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and petty misdemeanor unlawful deposit of garbage. Both also had an amended decision June 14.

Josiah, 20, was sentenced Monday, June 10, and will serve 90 days at the Wadena County Jail for one year, pay a fine of $315 and will be on supervised probation for one year.

Tayiah, 18, was sentenced May 20, and will pay a $300 fine and be on supervised probation for six months.

Both will serve 240 hours of community service over six months.

While originally ordered to serve community service with the Wadena County Humane Society (WCHS), an amended court decision on Friday, June 14, means both will still have to serve 240 hours of community service over six months, but those hours will be served "at an animal shelter, humane society or as directed by probation agent," the court record states. The order does not name the Wadena County Humane Society as a location they would serve.

That's much to the relief of WCHS board chair Tracy Adams Kooman, who said the board never agreed to allowing the defendants to work in their facility in Wadena.

"WCHS understands the need for individuals who commit animal cruelty to have an opportunity to learn and rehabilitate themselves," Kooman shared in an emailed statement. "However, we are a small facility and do not have the supervised setting to host this type of sentence."

Background

On Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 at 11:07 a.m., the Wadena County Sheriff's Office received a report of an individual finding a dead dog at McGivern Park campground north of Staples in Wadena County. The caller stated there were several shell casings around the dog, according to a sheriff's office press release.

A deputy with the sheriff's office arrived on scene and located the dog on the river. The dog had a collar and leash attached, but no tags. At the time of the call, it was unknown who the dog owners were.

The sheriff's office started getting more calls Tuesday, Feb. 19, at approximately 2 p.m., related to a video posted on Facebook that showed an individual shooting a dog. The dog was wearing a collar, connected to a leash and laying down in the snow.

In the video, it shows an individual shooting the dog one time and then another person kicking snow on the dog.

At one point early in the investigation, a second video was reported of individuals beating a dog with golf clubs. That video was never secured or brought forward to determine if there was any connection with this case.

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