The usually quiet McClelland Street in Saranac Lake was filled with police Tuesday.
"I didn't hear anything at all," said John Farrington, a neighbor.
Police say Oleg Tchernytchenko, 35, pointed a shotgun at his wife during an argument early Tuesday morning inside their home.
"As she went to move the shotgun out of the way it went off and discharged into her hand," Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason said.
Three small children were inside the home when the shooting occurred. The oldest is just 4.
"I believe two of the children were on the couch with her when the shot was fired," Nason said.
The wife is being treated at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington for a serious hand injury. The children were not hurt. Oleg Tchernytchenko is charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. The kids are now in state custody.
"We've been to that location previously for domestic disputes," Nason said.
But no charges or restraining orders were ever filed.
"On average it takes a victim of domestic violence nine times to leave a relationship," said Michelle Liberty of Behavioral Health Services North.
What was really happening inside the home is something only known by the couple. Police say they also found 17 dogs and piles of feces. Domestic violence advocates say isolation can be a sign of potential problems.
"They stayed in the house a lot," Farrington said. "Curtains were never open."
Advocates say getting help for the abuser and the victim can be tough, especially if children are involved.
"Abusers make it very difficult for their victims to leave their situations," Liberty said. "It's also a real fear that if a victim tries to get help that their abuser may escalate, it may escalate to physical violence."
A community hoping for a speedy recovery for the victim, that the three young children find a safe home and the alleged shooter gets the help he needs.
"Kind of shock," Farrington said. "They've been pretty good neighbors."
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