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Trial opens for accused Grayslake dog shooter
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Staff

Elvin Dooley


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Published: 5/11/201 5:26 PM | Updated: 5/11/2010 5:26 PM

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Marilyn McLin said her first task of the day was waiting for her in the parking lot when she showed up for work on Jan. 26.

The employee of the Save A Pet animal shelter in Grayslake said a black dog, obviously abandoned by its owners who had also left a bag of food and two toys, ran up to her car as she pulled in.

But the dog would not come close enough for her to grab it, McLin said, and after an hour of trying to rein it in she concentrated on just keeping it away from the road.

The dog eventually got away from all the shelter employees trying to coax it inside the shelter, and ran into a field behind a house in the 24000 block of Townline Road.

It was there, a prosecutor told the jury of seven men and five women, that Elvin Dooley raised a rifle to his shoulder, pressed his eye against a telescopic sight and fired the bullet that took the animal's life.

Dooley, 57, is on trial for animal cruelty and animal torture in Lake County circuit court and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Dooley shot the dog, Assistant State's Attorney Michael Mermel said, then took all of the 17 guns he had in his house over to a friend's because he knew police would be coming by to ask questions.

When police showed up two days later, Mermel said they found a gun safe, gun manuals, gun cases and thousands of rounds of ammunition, but no guns.

Police said Dooley eventually told them where they could find the weapons and, although he denied that he shot the dog at first, eventually admitted he had done so by mistake.

"No one in this case will be able to tell you my client intentionally was cruel to an animal or tortured one," Assistant Public Defender LaTonya Burton said in her opening statement. "It was an accident."

Police said Dooley told them he was shooting at some cans in his backyard when the dog happened on to the scene, and Burton said Tuesday that Dooley had a few target areas set up outside his house.

That he had 17 weapons in his house at all is another legal problem facing Dooley.

Officials claim Dooley was convicted of burglary in Alabama in 1978 and have charged him with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

Dooley is also charged with possession of a weapon without a state Firearm Owner's Identification card, and is scheduled to stand trial on both gun charges after the conclusion of the current case.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue today.