South Carolina man charged with felony for killing neighbor’s dog, police say

22 September 2023

CHERAW, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s been five months since the Bledsoe family heard their pet bark, or his collar jingle as he walked around the house. In April, Othello was shot and killed less than 50 feet from his home. 

Now his alleged killer has been charged with a felony. The family tells Queen City News they’re happy their beloved dog received the justice he deserved. 

“I miss him because we had him for two years,” Debbie Bledsoe said. “And, you know, it was it was part of my routine.” 

“You miss that camaraderie, but it’s tough to try to replace that, so to speak,” said Jeff Bledsoe.  

To them, Othello was like a son. He was shot twice and killed while under their next-door neighbor’s truck in April. The neighbor, Joe Taylor, told police he didn’t know he was shooting at their dog. 

The realization that they’d never pet Othello or receive his warm kisses again still hasn’t completely set in. But when the Bledsoes found out Taylor would be charged with the killing, it was just the right amount of relief for them. 

“It’s a relief knowing that Chesterfield County is going to hold what I call evil, you know, accountable,” Jeff said.  

We asked Taylor if he wanted to comment — he declined. 

Public records show Taylor was arrested on July 13, charged with ill-treatment of animals and torture. That’s a felony under South Carolina law. If convicted, Taylor could serve at least six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.  

Bledsoe says Taylor’s court date has been rescheduled three times now. The most recent date was for Sept 21, but it was rescheduled for Oct. 16.  

“We’ve known them for 20-plus years. So that’s why this is kind of all very, very, disheartening, so to speak,” said Jeff. “But I think, as I told you back in May, their animals have always been in our yard. That’s why we thought nothing about Othello going to their yard. So to answer your question is, no, we’ve not spoken. The last words he said to me was, ‘I’ll pay you what you have in your dog.’ And we left him there.” 

The Bledsoes say they’re still grieving the loss of their Othello and don’t know if they will add another dog to their family.  

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