Tabiona councilman resigns in wake of puppy killing charges

Ex-official faces 2 criminal charges in killing of puppy

Published: Friday, May 20 2011 12:09 a.m. MDT

TABIONA, Duchesne County — A Tabiona Town Council member has resigned from office and is facing two criminal charges in the fatal shooting of a 9-month-old puppy.

Rickey Evin Wilberg resigned Tuesday, according to Tabiona Mayor Ronnie Giles. He was charged Wednesday in 8th District Court with aggravated animal cruelty, a class A misdemeanor, and intoxication, a class C misdemeanor.

However, prosecutors Thursday upgraded the animal cruelty charge to torture of a companion animal, a third-degree felony. Prosecutor Grant Charles said the evidence in the case supports the enhanced charge.

On May 13, Wilberg used a .22-caliber rifle to fatally shoot a miniature Chihuahua puppy named Rocky, jail records state. Duchesne County sheriff's deputies said he told them he shot Rocky because he was "sick of listening to the dog barking."

The puppy was in its owner's backyard. Wilberg admitted that he had been drinking vodka before the shooting, deputies said.

"He executed a puppy," said Rocky's owner, Peggy Redmiles. "What right does he have to shoot my dog in my yard when I'm obeying the law?"

Wilberg, who owns several dachshunds, raised eyebrows in August 2010 when he told the Uintah Basin Standard that the misappropriation of more than $144,000 in funds by a former town clerk had him angry enough to "slap a horse or something."

— Geoff Liesik

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