Wyoming news briefs for April 27

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Large dogs seized in hoarding situation doing well

CHEYENNE — Less than two weeks after being rescued from what’s been described as a hoarding situation, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter says the more than 60 dogs are doing well.

Several have already been adopted, with more being fostered or awaiting assessment for adoption. And the community – having stepped up with donations, volunteering and foster homes – has made a difficult situation more manageable, shelter CEO Britney Tennant told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on Tuesday.

On April 16, animal control officers responded to a call about 20 large-breed dogs running loose on the south side of Cheyenne, according to a Saturday news release from the city.

With help from the city’s Compliance Department, the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office and community members, animal control officers rounded up 23 dogs and transported them to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, along with “a handful more over the next few days.”

“Upon contacting the dog owner, animal control quickly became aware of the gravity of the situation the dogs and their owner were in,” the news release said. “The owner accepted an offer to surrender all animals so they could receive medical care and more adequate housing.”

Tennant said it was her understanding that animal control officers had not issued the former owner a citation because the owner surrendered the animals. 

A total of 64 dogs, 13 birds and “a handful” of cats – nine, Tennant estimated – were taken from the situation. The dog breeds included Saint Bernards, English Mastiffs, Bullmastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Great Pyrenees, according to an email newsletter from the animal shelter.

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Man accused of shooting at friend pleads not guilty

GILLETTE — The man accused of shooting at his friend in March pleaded not guilty April 13 to attempted second-degree murder for allegedly firing a round that narrowly missed the friend.

His five-day trial is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 22.

Peter David Maynard, 30, was accused of shooting at his friend the night of March 22.

At the scene, police found a bullet lodged in a drywall stud about head-high in his home on South Emerson Avenue.

The incident apparently began after both men had been working on a remodeling project that day.

They began drinking that evening. They watched TV, listened to music and then began arguing over an undisclosed subject.

Maynard said he left the room at that point to de-escalate the situation. Then the argument turned physical, leading to a struggle between them before the 23-year-old left the room. Maynard told police he thought his friend went to retrieve a revolver that Maynard kept in his night stand, according to the affidavit.

He said that because of that, he called 911 and armed himself with a loaded revolver downstairs, then headed out of the house through the garage. 

Maynard said he thought the man was going to shoot him so Maynard aimed at the man’s feet and fired. Police found no evidence of a projectile striking the cement garage floor, according to the affidavit.

The 23-year-old man, who was allegedly shot at, denied having a gun or knowing where inside of the house a gun would have been kept.

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Arson case moves to district court

DOUGLAS — A Douglas woman has been charged with first degree felony arson after authorities claim she tried to burn down a Solutions for Life group home. 

Jamie R. Griffith, 31, was bound over from Converse County Circuit Court to stand trial in Eighth Judicial District Court April 20 on the single charge of arson. She was arrested in November just before Thanksgiving and the case has been in circuit court proceedings since then. 

Griffith is charged with attempting to burn down the group home with eight people living inside at 41 Lakeview Drive in the Ridgewater subdivision just west of Douglas. The group home at the time was run by Solutions for Life, which is now High Country Behavioral Health. 

In an affidavit filed with the court, Converse County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Smartt said a fire had been started near the side of the home the evening of Nov. 22 but was quickly extinguished by the Douglas Volunteer Fire Department. 

Inside the burned area, however, the deputy said he found a clear burned water bottle that he was told belonged to Griffith, who was “missing” from the home. 

The deputy stated he located Griffith in the Ridgewater I subdivision and she admitted to feeling frustrated and that she had “set that place on fire.”

She also allegedly told the deputy she wanted “everyone to die tonight,” the affidavit states. 

If convicted of first degree arson, Griffith faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $20,000.

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Jackson to host first Scholastic Chess Tournament in five years

ROCK SPRINGS — Jackson Hole Classical Academy, a private K-12 school, has partnered with Wyoming Chess Association President Brian Walker Sr. to host a Wyoming Scholastic Chess Tournament — the first to be held in five years — at its campus Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sanctioned by the U.S. Chess Federation, this tournament is open to any serious K-12 chess players in Wyoming and presents an opportunity to advance to the national level. 

Jay Stallings, internationally recognized chess coach, leads the chess program at JHCA with 27 years of experience teaching students how to win the game while developing logic skills.

A major part of the classical program of study at JHCA, chess helps students learn to make sound decisions, teaches the importance of patient study, and cultivates the habit of always thinking about the consequences to their actions, according to Stallings. 

“Chess is for life. It’s a game that will help students to build friendships and meet new people,” he said. “It’s also an international language. You can play chess with people all over the world. It allows you to have many opportunities,” he said.