Stella, a 3-year-old Great Pyrenees, was shot and killed in September. Courtesy photo.

Concord family in shock after neighbor confesses to shooting their dog 

By Anne O’Connor
December 5, 2023

Stella, the Richmon family’s big, fluffy white dog, died on the way to the emergency veterinarian – shot between the ribs. 

Almost two weeks later, neighboring homeowner Ed Fanning walked into the police station and confessed. 

On September 12, the family pet was doing the things she usually did around 8 a.m. while the kids got ready for school: playing in the 2.5-acre yard with, the other family dog, a silver lab named Smokey, and walking around and checking things out before wandering onto the neighbor’s property, sniffing the ground.  

Smokey, a silver lab, and Great Pyrenees Stella became part of the Richmon family during the pandemic. Stella was shot and killed by a neighbor in September. Courtesy photo

The morning the 3-year-old Great Pyrenees died, the entire Richmon family, not just the dogs, were doing their usual things. Jeremy, the father, was at work and the three children were in and out of the house getting ready for school so Anna, the mother, could bring them down to catch the bus. 

The routine broke.  

After dropping off her oldest for the middle school bus, Anna looked for the dogs to bring them in. She found Stella lying on the ground in the kennel. She saw a few drops of blood on the floor but no wounds. Their pet was lethargic. 

“I knew something was not right,” she wrote in an email, and had the two younger kids walk down the road to the bus stop. 

“I got a panicked call from my wife,” Jeremy said. 

They decided she would take the dog to the animal emergency room in Westford. If she drove fast, it was 15 minutes away. At Anna’s bidding, the giant dog climbed up into the Ford Expedition. 

“By the time she (Anna) got to Westford that September 12, Stella was dead,” said Jeremy.  

Anna called her husband again.  

“The second call … came as I was scrubbing in for the case. I was so upset that it was very difficult to get through the 10hr surgery,” the head and neck oncologic surgeon at Mass Eye and Ear wrote in an email. 

With no obvious injury and thinking the young dog might have had a tumor or another problem, the veterinarian suggested a necropsy. Anna drove her dog’s body to New Hampshire, not knowing what the post-mortem exam would reveal. 

On September 21, the necropsy report, with its unexpected finding, came in. The couple learned the dog had been shot with a small bullet, right between the fifth and sixth ribs.  

They had to tell the children how their beloved dog really died.  

The investigation 

With the results in hand, Anna called the police, who sent officers and detectives to the Hugh Cargill Road home. By then, she and Jeremy had already reviewed the footage from their surveillance camera, with the sound on. 

They watched Stella walk over a stone wall into the Fanning’s abutting yard. The dog meandered around alone, quietly sniffing. Two loud bangs, which the police report called consistent with gunshots, rang out. 

Stella began walking home and out of the frame.  

“We were devastated and scared beyond belief,” Jeremy said.  

The Concord Bridge watched the clip provided by the Richmons. 

Police spent hours at the Richmon’s home where they watched the video and saw “nine distinct droplets of a reddish black and brown substance that is consistent with dried blood on the floor of the garage,” according to the report. The same afternoon, they obtained a search warrant and spent an hour searching the Fanning’s Lowell Road house and yard.  

They found nothing of evidentiary value.  

“I then told Mr. Fanning that the dog was shot and could see a change in demeanor and saw his throat move forcefully, indicating he had swallowed hard. I also stated that Stella had died of her injuries to which Mr. Fanning exclaimed, ‘It died?’” Det. Derek L. Rodgriguez wrote in his report. 

The confession 

On September 25, Ed Fanning, went to the police station, presented a written statement, signed a Miranda warning, and took full responsibility for killing his neighbors’ dog, according to a police report obtained from Concord District Court. 

Fanning said he had disassembled the weapon, which he told police was “a single shot .22 caliber ‘Diana’ air rifle with a break barrel. He discarded it in the town trash.  

“During the interview, Mr. Fanning was honest, forthright, and cooperative,” the report said. 

Law enforcement brought three charges against him: cruelty to an animal, malicious killing of a domestic animal and intentionally misleading an investigator. 

The first two charges each carry penalties of up to seven years in state prison, 2.5 years in the house of corrections and/or a $5,000 maximum fine. The third charge can mean up to 10 years in state prison, 2.5 years in the house of corrections and/or a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. 

Fanning was arraigned in Concord District Court and pretrial hearings have started. 

When The Concord Bridge reached him by phone, Fanning said of the shooting, “It was an accident” and that he did not see why people would want to know about the incident. He declined to comment further. 

Leadup to the shot 

The police report noted that Fanning had made 14 noise complaints about barking dogs between 2020 and 2022. Animal control and the Richmons were usually advised of the complaint. 

Another Lowell Road resident made two noise complaints during that time. 

Jeremy said that Fanning had complained several times about barking. Once, Fanning came to the house, while Jeremy was at work, pounding on the door and yelling at Anna. 

Jeremy and Anna had the Fannings over to meet and “went to great efforts” to alleviate the situation, including using a bark collar, Jeremy said. 

“We know what the noise violations are in Concord. We’re going to abide by that,” Jeremy said. 

The aftermath 

The Richmons are putting a fence between their property and the Fanning’s yard. They have a new puppy, Zoey, an 11-month-old Pyrenean mastiff. 

Fanning’s next pretrial hearing is January 8 at Concord District Court. 

Jeremy Cohen, the Richmon’s attorney, said they are still waiting for the ballistics report. Initially, the police said the bullet found in Stella was consistent with one fired from an air gun. But, he said, the discharge heard on the video footage was louder than what might be expected. 

“It takes a little bit to get to the truth,” said the founder of  

As for what’s next in the neighborhood? 

“My client wants him (Fanning) to move,” Cohen said. “That’s a big ask.” 

“It should be uncomfortable for him to be in Concord,” Jeremy said. “We just want our sense of serenity and peace back in our neighborhood.”  

“Ultimately, we’re hoping that he has the wherewithal to move,” he said.