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(This is a follow-up to a story first seen here Monday, February 1, 2021)

Fentress County authorities made an arrest yesterday in connection with the fatal shooting of five hunting dogs back on January 30, 2021.

Officers took 29-year-old Richard A. Rader of Jamestown into custody on five counts of animal cruelty, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and a single count of vandalism under $1,000.

Court documents state the basis of the charges started when Sheriff Michael Reagon received a call from Greg Smith saying he needed to make a report of someone shooting at his kids while they were in the process of dog hunting in the Manson community.

Sheriff Reagon notified a deputy to go to the area off of Livingston Highway to file the incident report.

The officer arrived and Smith told him his juvenile son, soon to be stepson and the soon to be stepson’s girlfriend were in the process of killing a hog after it had been bayed by their hunting dogs when someone began shooting in their direction.

Smith further stated during this time his stepson called him on his cellphone to inform him they had killed the hog but someone was down the hill from their location shooting in their direction. The stepson became scared for their lives and told the other two to get down. Smith then told him to get the other two and run and to leave the five hunting dogs there which were tied to a tree at the time.

Once the three victims got back to Smith, he advised them to go home and he would call law enforcement to go get the dogs and a shotgun left behind.

The deputy finished taking the statements from Smith them went to the home of the suspect, Richard Rader. He told the officer he was sitting on his back porch when he heard dogs barking up on a ridge behind his home. Rader further stated he did not see anyone nor did he shoot at anyone but he reportedly said he shot the five hunting dogs on his property.

The deputy completed the initial report and turned it in for review.

On Monday, February 1, 2021, an investigator was assigned to the case who went to the Rader home to speak with the suspect and take photos of the scene. Rader told the investigator he wanted his father present before answering any questions. Moments later, he arrived and met officers at the gate who informed them he wanted to speak to a lawyer before allowing them on the property. The lawyer reportedly told the elder Rader it was ok.

During the interview with the investigator, the court document stated Rader openly admitted to shooting a firearm to the left and down from the general direction of where he thought the dogs were on the hill. Law enforcement then went to the scene to the base of the hill 100 yards from the residence where the first dog was shot. Photos were taken for evidence purposes.

They went to the second scene 300 yards from the home where the remaining four dogs had been shot.

Authorities returned to the home where Rader reportedly told them he was on the back porch when the incident started when he was “pelted with a shot.” Court documents state he first stated he was pulling the shot out of his skin then later said he had a large Carhart coat on so the shot did not hit his skin but struck the house. Officers photographed the back porch, searched it and no shot was found at that time. Rader further stated he went up the hill to where he heard the people and dogs. He reportedly yelled at whomever it was to come to him and fired a shot to give him his location as he continued up the hill. When he got to the top, he claimed he did not see anyone. Rader allegedly retrieved four of the dogs tied to a tree by a leash around 30 yards away from where the canines were found shot. Rader claimed the dogs got away from him and that is when he “had to shoot them.”

After completing the initial investigation, the officer wrote he felt because of the grave nature of the offense and with the physical and photo evidence from the location, it was his belief Rader places the three victims in fear for their lives.

According to the report, the vandalism charge is based on Rader allegedly damaging two tracking collars on the dogs beyond repair.

Rader will be arraigned on the charges soon in Fentress County court.

To see the original story, click the following link:


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