MAPLE SHADE – Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Maple Shade Township Police Chief Christopher Fletcher announced that a 64-year-old township man has been charged with shooting a neighbor’s dog with an air rifle last week.
William D. Stroemel, of the first block of Fifth Avenue, was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Second Degree), two counts of Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Second Degree), Animal Cruelty (Third Degree), Certain Persons Not to Have Firearms (Third Degree), Hindering Apprehension/Concealing Evidence (Fourth Degree) and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Fourth Degree).
Stroemel, a heavy equipment operator who is also known as Wild Willie, is in Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly awaiting a detention hearing in Superior Court.
Stroemel was initially charged with weapons offenses following the discovery of a .22 caliber pistol during the execution of a search warrant at his residence on September 23.
Additional charges were added yesterday after a necropsy was performed and the pellet removed from Toby’s head was connected to an air rifle in Stroemel’s possession at the time of the shooting.
The investigation began on September 18 after police were contacted by Toby’s owners, the Cook family, who live in the 800 block of Greenwood Avenue. They told police that the poodle had been discovered howling in pain by a neighbor the previous day. An examination by a veterinarian revealed that he had been shot in the head. Toby was euthanized a day after being shot.
The investigation, which was conducted by the Maple Shade Police Department, revealed that Stroemel shot Toby with the air rifle and then gave the gun to an acquaintance and asked him to hold it for him. Toby was not believed to be on Stroemel’s property when he was shot.
All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.