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Tabiona town leader kills neighbor's barking dog, police say

Published: Sunday, May 15 2011 7:53 p.m. MDT

TABIONA, Duchesne County — A member of the Tabiona Town Council has been arrested in connection with the deadly shooting of his neighbor's 9-month-old puppy.

Rickey Evin Wilberg, 58, was booked Friday into the Duchesne County Jail for investigation of animal cruelty and intoxication.

Peggy Redmiles claims Wilberg shot and killed Rocky, her miniature teacup Chihuahua. The incident occurred about 3 p.m. Friday while the dog was in Redmiles' backyard, which borders Wilberg's property.

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

Jail records state that Wilberg told sheriff's deputies he shot the puppy through the fence with a .22-caliber rifle because "he had been sick of listening to the dog barking." Deputies recovered the gun and noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from Wilberg, according to jail records.

Redmiles said Friday's incident is part of an ongoing problem with Wilberg. The councilman has been caught peeking through her fence, has yelled at her teenage sons repeatedly, and spread rumors about the family around the small community, she said.

"I just figured he was a grumpy old man who was lonely and had nothing else to do," Redmiles said. "We don't even talk to him."

Wilberg declined to discuss the shooting when contacted Sunday, saying it is "still under investigation."

He did, however, dispute the claims that he has threatened the Redmiles family or harassed them. Instead, he said, it is the Redmiles family who has been causing problems for him.

"They've egged my house. They've egged my backhoes," he said. "I've got a two-page list of all the things that's gone on the last two years."

The councilman also claims Redmiles' husband, Robert, has threatened to assault him on two occasions.

"I'm 135 pounds, he's probably 250 (pounds)," Wilberg said. "When he threatened to beat me up, I told him, 'I will be home all night, but I will have a gun.' I did not threaten him in any way, shape or form."

Wilberg said he'd received three recent complaints from Tabiona residents about nuisance barking by the Redmiles' four dogs. When he contacted the family last week to try to address those complaints, Wilberg said, they responded by calling the sheriff's office to claim he was threatening them.

"I just want some serenity and peace," Wilberg said. "I've done everything I can do for people in this town."

Email: geoff@ubstandard.com. Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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