Retrial Put Off In Ex-Officer’s Dog-Killing Case

Posted: November 14, 2012

HARRISONBURG — A former Harrisonburg police officer convicted of animal cruelty for shooting a family’s dog in Clover Hill will have to wait until next year to get a new trial.

On Thursday, Judge Dennis Hupp rescheduled Russell Metcalf’s trial for Jan. 9 in Rockingham County Circuit Court.

On Aug. 23, retired Judge Steven Helvin of Charlottesville found Metcalf, 51, of Dayton, guilty of animal cruelty and reckless handling of a firearm following a trial in Rockingham County General District Court. He was sentenced to a 60-day suspended jail term and prohibited from possessing a domesticated animal for six months.

Metcalf was convicted of killing an 8-month-old border collie mix named Sadie as he rode his bicycle on Robinson Road on April 3.

Metcalf, a sergeant with the Harrisonburg Police Department at the time of the incident, appealed Helvin’s decision on the misdemeanor charges. The appeals process calls for a new trial to be held in circuit court.

Metcalf, who has since resigned from HPD, claims he shot the dog in self-defense.

Hupp, who serves primarily in Shenandoah and Warren counties, is filling in for Judges James Lane and T.J. Wilson. Both local judges recused themselves from the case.

Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley had been named as special prosecutor in the case. Wiseley also served as prosecutor during the earlier trial in district court.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or


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