Man accused of shooting neighbor's dog says it was self-defense, owner says there's an ongoing feud

Man accused of shooting neighbor's dog says it was self-defense, owner says there's an ongoing feud
Travis Severio (Source: Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office)
Travis Severio (Source: Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office)

LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) - An adopted dog was shot and a neighbor was arrested, but the man accused of pulling the trigger said it was self-defense, while the dog's owner said it is just a case of feuding neighbors. WARNING: Some of the images may be disturbing.

Roxy, a 2-year-old Boxer mix, was adopted from the Livingston Parish Animal Shelter. Her owner, Christina Dennis, said Roxy was out and about playing with children in a neighbor's yard when all of a sudden, she heard a gunshot. Roxy had been shot once with a shotgun.

Travis Severio, 33, of Livingston, was arrested in connection with the shooting. He was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. He was released Monday after posting $25,000 bond.

Severio lives two lots from Dennis. He said Roxy was on his lot near his chicken pen.

"I come out here trying to get the dogs away from my chicken pen over there and it come after me, try to bite me, so I went and grabbed my gun and tried again," Severio said. "She chased me back over here to the end of my trailer and that's when I shot it."

Severio said he shot Roxy in self-defense and that the dog was not on a leash. He added he cannot take out his garbage or check the mail at night because the dog starts growling at him. He also said he spoke to Roxy's owners about it.

"I asked him five or six times nicely to keep the dog tied up and he wouldn't. It has killed four of my ducks, three of my cats and two of my dogs," Severio said.

"I would like to see evidence of that," said Dennis. "I've never heard of anything of her attacking his ducks and killing them. If that was the case, when he called the cops, he would have shown them dead animals and she would be gone, bottom line. If she was that vicious, she would be gone."

Dennis admitted a deputy was called out in the past and they were ticketed for having a dog at large and told to make sure to tie Roxy up, but she said the dog broke the chain Sunday and got away. However, she said Roxy was not in Severio's yard. According to Dennis, Roxy was in between lots and the shooting was personal, not self-defense.

"It's something we'll never forget. He had no right to shoot the dog. The dog was not in his yard, coming at him growling. We have had problems with him in the past," Dennis added.

Roxy was released from the veterinarian Monday and is recovering. Dennis said Roxy lost a lot of blood, but fortunately, does not have any broken bones. Severio said he loves animals and would never purposely hurt one unless his life was at risk.

"I was just shooting to shoot the dog because if I was shooting to kill, I would have killed it right there," Severio explained.

Sheriff Jason Ard said by looking at Roxy's blood trail, the dog was at the edge of Severio's yard towards his driveway, not near his chicken pen. He added deputies never found any dead ducks or cats and even though they were called out back in October, Severio chose not to file a formal complaint.

Dennis said she is taking the matter to court.

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