Man mistakes dog for coyote; kills family pet in front of 2 boys

Posted at 5:53 PM, Dec 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 18:53:53-05

RAY COUNTY, Mo. -- A Polo, Missouri man is facing two counts of child endangerment and unlawful use of a weapon after shooting a family pet in front of two children.

Sheriff’s deputies said that Frankie Wardlow, 62, was in his pickup around noon on Wednesday when he told deputies that he and his son saw what they thought was a coyote running along a rural road. 

Court documents say that Wardlow grabbed a gun and fired at the animal from his pickup, striking the animal.

A short distance away, two boys said they were out squirrel hunting on their family property when a man drove by and fired a shot at their German Shepherd. The boys saw the man briefly get out of the pickup to check on the animal, but got back in the pickup and drove off.

Deputies launched a search for Wardlow, locating him in Caldwell County, where they located two .22-caliber rifles in his pickup.

After waiving his Miranda rights, Wardlow told deputies his version of events, in which he admitted to firing a shot, but didn’t think he had hit anything. He said he left his pickup to check on what he thought was the coyote when he discovered it was a dog and that kids were nearby.

Wardlow posted bond and was released from the Ray County, Missouri jail on Friday.

A court date has not yet been set.