September 26, 2019
A Maple Shade man is facing animal cruelty and weapons charges after he allegedly shot his neighbor's dog in the head, causing injuries that ultimately led to the family's decision to euthanize their pet.
Authorities identified the shooter as 64-year-old William Stroemel, a heavy equipment operator who goes by the name Wild Willie, according to prosecutors.
Stroemel was initially charged with the weapons offenses after police recovered .22 caliber pistol during the execution of a search warrant at his home.
A necropsy of the dog, a poodle-Pomeranian mix named Toby, revealed that the pellet removed the dog's head matched an air rifle allegedly in Stroemel's possession at the time of the shooting.
Amber Cook, the granddaughter of Toby's owner, said her father was a Vietnam veteran and shared a deep relationship with his dog.
A neighbor of the Cooks notified the family about Toby's condition last Tuesday afternoon when he was heard howling in pain. He was taken to a veterinarian, where it was determined he suffered extensive brain damage. The family decided it was best to humanely euthanize him the next day.
Police do not believe Toby was on Stroemel's property at the time of the shooting. Investigators suspect Stroemel gave the air rifle to an acquaintance to hold for him after the incident.
Stroemel is being held at the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly ahead of a detention hearing.