Highland Police on Monday filed charges against a woman and her boyfriend whose dogs severely injured a Highland woman and killed her dog August 8.
Luz Angely Adorno, currently of Highland, was charged with three counts of Dog Liability Resulting in Injury and one count of Dog Liability Resulting in Injury — Defendant Convicted of More Than 1 Previous Unrelated Violation, all misdemeanors. Her boyfriend, Adrien David Sheldon, was charged the same but also received a misdemeanor Cruelty to an Animal — First Offense charge in the incident, according to court records.
Highland Police at around 9:18 p.m. August 8 were sent to the corner of Johnston Street and Jewett Avenue for a report of dogs fighting with another dog and a gun fired at the location, the Post-Tribune reported previously. The officers arrived to “the chaotic scene” and learned the victim, Amber Neyhart, was walking her dog when a group of American Bully breed dogs that had escaped their fenced-in backyard attacked her dog, originally believed to be a Husky but was in fact a white German Shepherd, according to court records.
Neyhart tried to shield her dog from the horde but ended up getting severely bitten by the “larger mother dog,” and bystanders who tried to help her and the dog also were bitten, records state. The German Shepherd was able to break free from the attack for a moment, but the dogs caught up with it and continued attacking.
Then a man who not previously at the scene pulled out a gun and shot the mother dog before leaving, according to police. No one there seemed to either know him or want to identify him.
One of the responding officers followed the surviving dogs to a residence in the 3500 block of Jewett Street, where he found an unsecured gate on the west side of the residence, records said. Adorno approached the officer and told him she was the owner and had let the eight pit bulls out to go to the bathroom when one of the people assisting Neyhart, Erika Fink, knocked on her door to let her know her dogs were running loose and attacking Neyhart and her dog, records said.
Adorno told police she ran out to Neyhart to corral the dogs, records said, but as she reached to grab the mother, she heard a “bang” and saw that the unidentified man shot her. She pleaded for the man to not shoot the dog again, and he left, records said.
Officers later asked Adorno to provide the dogs’ proof of vaccinations, but the proof she provided was expired, nor were the dogs licensed in the town, records show. Officers who went into the house noted that it smelled of urine and that the seven remaining dogs were housed in three crates.
Adorno told police the mother dog unintentionally mated with another dog in town and that she and Sheldon had been trying to sell or rehome the puppies for months, records said. Adorno also said she believes someone let the dogs out, but she couldn’t prove it.
As officers wrapped up the scene, Sheldon, who identified himself as an owner of the dogs, arrived and said he wasn’t home when they’d gotten loose, the affidavit said.
Fink told police the dogs were known in the neighborhood because they’d escaped several times, records said. Fink said she’d told Adorno and Sheldon to get the fence fixed, according to court records.
Officers returned to the house the next day, August 9, because Sheldon had put the dead dog on display in the front yard of the home and claimed it “had been murdered,” records said. Neighbors later sent videos of Sheldon abusing the dogs the morning of the attack and the next day, according to the affidavit.
Records show Sheldon was involved in a 2022 incident in which one of his dogs bit another dog. He also has a pending Felony theft case from January, court records indicate.
Court documents filed August 11 show that Highland attorneys David Gladish and Mark Schocke have entered a complaint against Adorno and Tracy Abbott on behalf of Neyhart, 28. Abbott is the owner of the house in the 3500 block of Jewett Street; Adorno was renting the house.
In a separate filing also entered August 11, Abbott has moved to evict Adorno, according to court records.
Michelle L. Quinn is a freelance reporter at the Post-Tribune.