South Florida man accused of fatally shooting dog walking on leash

James Thompson was charged with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm.
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James Thompson was charged with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm.

A South Florida man is accused of fatally shooting a neighbor’s dog while the animal was being walked Wednesday night, authorities said.

James Thompson, 54, of Margate, was arrested Thursday and charged with discharging a firearm and causing the cruel death of an animal, WTVJ reported.

Thompson was released after posting $2,500 bail, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

According to an arrest report, a 6-year-old rescued boxer named Benjamin was being walked with another dog on leashes near an apartment complex when Thompson allegedly shot the boxer, according to WSVN.

Arlette Ocampo, who owned Benjamin, wrote on Facebook that her pet was "a very loved and spoiled puppy."

Ocampo told WSVN that Thompson said he became scared when Benjamin barked at him. Ocampo said Benjamin was a friendly dog and tame. She said her pet died in her arms.

“The guy was just like, ‘Oh, you know, I feared for my life, it was self-defense,’ and it was just a blur from there,” Ocampo told the television station.

Ocampo said her other dog, Tommy, was traumatized by the gunshot and has not eaten since the incident, WLPG reported.

Efforts to reach Thompson for comment were unsuccessful, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Ocampo wrote on Facebook that Benjamin “will always live in me.”

"The hardest part is knowing that someone killed my dog," Ocampo told WSVN. "Letting go of a dog, I understand it's going to happen, but the way that it happened … I wish I could just turn back time and, you know, walked him in some other direction. I think that's the hardest part. I don't think I'm ever going to get over that."