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Woman arrested in connection with deadly shooting of dog in Southington

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

WFSB |Dec 1, 2023 |By Rob Polansky

SOUTHINGTON, CT - Police in Southington were looking to charge two people for the shooting death of a dog in Southington.

So far, police arrested a woman, 24-year-old Karenlynne Gatling of Bristol, and charged with cruelty to animals. She was taken into custody on Thursday. Karenlynne Gatling was arrested in connection with the shooting death of a dog in Southington, police said. (Southington police)An arrest warrant was issued for 43-year-old Maurice McElrath of Waterbury. McElrath will be charged with cruelty to animals, criminal possession of a pistol or revolver, and unlawful discharge of firearms. Police said he was already incarcerated on unrelated charges. He’ll be charged during his next court appearance. According to police, McElrath shot the pit bull on Aug. 17, and Gatling knew it happened and failed to report it.

The dog’s owner called police to report that she believed the 7-year-old pet had been shot. She found it dead inside her home.

Gatling had been staying at the home, and McElrath was described as her acquaintance. The dog’s owner said McElrath shot the pet after it came out of a dog door barking. The incident happened after the owner had left for the day. Police said the owner came home and found blood that led from a back deck through the house and into a bedroom. That’s where she found the dog, dead.

Gatling confirmed to police that the dog had been shot, then she left the home without calling the dog’s owner or police for help.

She would not initially say who shot the dog; however, investigators said they learned McElrath did it.

In a later interview, Gatling told investigators McElrath arrived to pick her up before the shooting. Gatling stated that she did not hear anything, but when she went outside, McElrath told her, “Yo, I think I shot your dog.”

She reported that she went back inside and found the dog, confirmed it was injured, got a washcloth to apply pressure to the wound, and then decided to leave the house to make it appear like the incident happened after she was gone. Gatling declined to cooperate with investigators at first.

After learning the dog had been shot, a necropsy was requested to determine the cause of death. The necropsy report, completed by the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, concluded that the cause of death was “consistent with the clinical findings of a suspected gunshot wound.”

McElrath refused to provide a statement to Investigators.

Gatling was held on a $2,500 bond and given a court date of Dec. 14. Copyright 2023 WFSB. All rights reserved.

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