Neighbor dispute leads to dog killed in Nottingham/Middle River area

Neighbor dispute leads to dog killed in Nottingham/Middle River area

NOTTINGHAM, Md. (WBFF) - A dispute between neighbors in the Nottingham/Middle River area leads to a dog being shot and killed and an 8-year-old boy threatened at gunpoint.

The man who fired the fatal shots at the dog also reportedly pointed the weapon at the 8-year-old boy.

Zachary Halaj, 35, has been charged with assault and is being held without bail from the incident that happened Monday on Conmar Road near Lannerton.

"Caesar and Ghost got out. The two puppies, two 9-month-old puppies. They ran across the street to play with the dog," said Celina Diiorio, whose dog Caesar was shot and killed.

"There's been encounters in the past," said Diiorio. "They would run over the gate and run up and down the outside of the gate just playing with the dog. There's never been nothing threatening."

But, she said, Halaj has complained before.

"Yes, he came over and threatened us he would hurt our dogs if they come over again."

On Monday, Celina says Halaj shot Caesar and then threatened Reggie and another adult who was with him.

"I was trying to help Caesar, but he killed Caesar," Reggie said.

"Then he pointed the gun at [Reggie] and threatened to shoot and kill him," Diiorio said. "He was trying to retrieve the dog, telling him, 'He's not gonna hurt you, not gonna harm you, you're not in immediate danger.'"

According to court documents, Halaj said four dogs were attacking his dog and he feared for his life when he shot Caesar.

"He didn't have to shoot the dog," Reggie said.

Right now, Halaj is not facing any charges for the shooting, but he is charged with two counts of first degree assault for pointing the weapon at Reggie and the other adult.

Halaj is due in court Sept. 7 for a preliminary hearing.

Diiorio has started a GoFundMe page to have the dog cremated.

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