County employee accused of killing neighbor's dogs

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Becca and Linda Onustock have a special bond with their dogs. They were devastated when two died a few months ago.

"I just started crying," said Becca.

"It was terrible, it was awful because they're part of your family," said Linda. "I mean, those were our babies."

What's worse is that investigators don't think it was an accident.

Prosecutors filed a charge of animal cruelty against their neighbor Eugene Buermann. Court documents say Buermann admitted laying out ground beef laced with rat poison along the fence line in December.

In the documents, Buermann claimed the Onustock's dogs killed some of his chickens first, a claim that Linda denies.

"I would think that I would see some blood on them, and they slept inside every night," she said.

Linda says it started last June when Buermann was driving around and accusing different neighbors that their dogs were killing his livestock.

To get all sides, I contacted Buermann at work. He declined to comment.

The Onustocks have four other dogs and worry they might not be safe.

"At one point, I wanted to just move," said Linda. "I didn't want to be here anymore because of my neighbor, and I'm still really scared to let my dogs outside."

The dogs do go outside. And, the Onustocks hope nothing like this happens again.

Buermann is not in jail and is due back in court in June. A conviction of intentionally poisoning an animal could bring up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.