WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas -- A Williamson County man is charged with animal cruelty after a neighbor claims he poisoned their dogs in the Fern Bluff neighborhood, just west of Round Rock.
"We've lived here about eight years. It's a very nice neighborhood. We really like it. We've grown friendly with a lot of our neighbors," said Orrie Vander Meiden.
Vander Meiden says he, like many of his neighbors, has a dog in his backyard.
"We do worry about disturbing neighbors at times, but, in general, nobody has ever complained, so we wouldn't expect anything to happen," he said.
Just down the street, Vander Meiden's neighbor, 58-year-old Gary Ewald, is charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals after neighbors claimed he poisoned their dogs.
"It's a complete surprise to me," Vander Meiden said.
According to the arrest warrant, Ewald's next door neighbor found his dogs convulsing in the backyard. The vet found no obvious sign's of toxins in the dogs' bloodstreams but the neighbor caught Ewald on camera pouring something in his backyard.
Another neighbor told police Ewald threatened to poison their dogs if they didn't stop barking.
"I think that if you don't know who you're living next to, anybody could be capable of doing that," Vander Meiden said.
Ewald told police he cleaned his barbecue pit and poured the remains in the yard but said it wasn't poisonous. In the warrant, police said he also admitted he had issues with the dogs' barking and had threatened to poison them in the past.
"It does bother me that it's in the neighborhood, too. I hate to hear that, because this is a good neighborhood," Vander Meiden said.
WFAA sister station KVUE did speak to both Ewald and the dog's owner, but neither wanted to comment.