Gemma. (credit: Lapeer County Animal Control)

Gemma. (credit: Lapeer County Animal Control)

GOODLAND TWP. (WWJ/AP) – A lawyer for a Michigan man charged with animal cruelty after his retriever was found wounded with a crossbow arrow in the top of her head says the shooting was justified.

Denis McCarthy told the Detroit Free Press that 28-year-old Christopher Scott had “just cause” to kill the dog, named Gemma, because the animal killed his other dog — a pug — “literally ripping out its throat.”

McCarthy went on to say that Scott, of Lapeer County’s Goodland Township, had genuine fear because he has five children in the home and young children living next door.

Gemma was found wandering in March with an arrow lodged above her left eye. Some reports say she could have been shot with the arrow days before she was discovered. The arrow was later removed by a veterinarian and Gemma appears to be making a full recovery.

Gemma remains in custody at the county’s animal control unit because she is considered evidence in the case.

Scott faces up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted. He’s due in court July 8 for a hearing to determine if the case goes to trial. McCarthy said he plans to request that the case be dismissed.

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