Shooter says incident overblown


— Riley, the golden retriever shot in the paw Wednesday night, is home recovering after being checked out by a local veterinarian.

Greg Nelson, the dog's owner, said he and his family were outside having a "paintball war" when his 13-year-old son and dog strayed into neighbor Tom Cannon's property on Valley View Lane on the way up Yellow Jacket Pass. The boy was not walking the dog, as was initially reported.

Nelson said he did not know how close his son was when the shot was fired, but a bullet, apparently from a .22 rifle, passed through Riley's foot. Nelson's family had seen Cannon outside, wearing only his underwear, about 10 minutes before the shot was fired, he said.

Cannon disputed some of Nelson's account Friday morning. Cannon, who has lived on Valley View Lane for 25 years, said Nelson's dog often wanders onto his property and sometimes approaches his barn, where Cannon's cat lives. While Cannon said the dog has never posed a threat to him, he thinks it has posed a threat to his cat.

Cannon said he was fully clothed when he fired his rifle in an attempt to scare Riley.

"I was aiming at the ground in front of him, and I inadvertently hit his foot," Cannon said. Cannon said the dog was back running around Thursday, one day after being shot.

"It's being blown out of proportion," Cannon said about the incident. He was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of prohibited use of a weapon, careless discharge of a firearm, and cruelty to animals. Cannon was released later Wednesday night on $750 bail.

Routt County Sheriff's Office deputies have said alcohol may have been a factor in the incident. Cannon, however, said he had only one beer with dinner before the shooting.

Cannon, 68, estimated that Nelson's son was between 50 and 75 yards away from the dog when he fired his gun.

"When I shot at the dog, the kid wasn't anywhere near it," he said.

Cannon said trespassing issues with his neighbors are a continuing problem.

"If you're going on someone else's land, you get permission," he said. "This whole thing has gotten very unpleasant."


jk 7 years, 11 months ago

windle,"If your unleashed, joyful pup runs toward me and is not under your control your pup will be taught a lesson." Why the double standard? Didn't you post this earlier??


kspork 7 years, 12 months ago

So, this 3 legged dog walks into a bar..... and says I'm looking for the man that shot my pa


Martha D Young 7 years, 12 months ago

I thought it was the landowner's responsibility to fence out critters that are not welcome on the landowner's property.


untamedShrewd 7 years, 12 months ago

sounds like your not much of a marksman. Aiming for the ground in front of the dog, but you hit the dog. So if your aging eye sight estimates that the kid was 50 to 75 feet away from the dog...most likely he was in your target range too.

Why not be neighborly, and talk to the Nelsons if you have a problem. And yeah, cats get chased by dogs, what else is new. I'm sure there foxes in your neck of the woods, too.


Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 12 months ago

Marthalee- there is a leash law in Steamboat and even in the county, or the dog must be under voice command. Plus, where I live, covenant rules preclude fencing in the "front" portion of a yard. Not sure what covenants would be in place where these people live, though.

I am not condoning what Cannon did. I just remember that a few years back in my neighborhood, while there was still a lot of new construction (and the vehicles to go with that) happening, a dog was hit by a cement truck and the blame went on the truck driver for going too fast. I didn't witness it; just heard about it at the annual meeting. While I have little doubt the truck was going fast, it was all I could do to not ask if the truck had run up into this person's lawn to hit the dog where it was tied up. Somehow, I don't think that was the case, especially in my neighboorhood.

Even I thumped my neighbor's dog late one night with the corner of my front bumper. We were both lucky that had just stopped to avoid hitting a fox that had just crossed in front of me. The fox stood on the side of the road for a moment, so I was watching to make sure it didn't dart back into the road and slowly started forward again. No sooner than that, the neighbor's dog bolted from the other direction in my path to chase the fox. Scared the bejeezus out of me. Luckily, the dog was fine. I felt like crap afterward and it wasn't even my fault. I can't fault my neighbor, either. They almost never let the dog run loose. It just happened to be late and little traffic, so they thought a before-bed free romp would be okay.

So, before placing all the blame on the shooter, think about the whole circumstances first. Thank goodness the kid didn't get shot.


Pres Plumb 7 years, 12 months ago

Mathew -

I agree that there are thoughtless and irresponsible pet owners out there but I can't imagine a circumstance where a gun is the appropriate response.


MDSand 7 years, 12 months ago

I shot your dog He was on my property Thought he was a coyote On the run I been missin' some chickens So I pulled the trigger I feel so bad About what I done - Fred Eaglesmith


trump_suit 7 years, 11 months ago

Big difference between an aggressive dog on leash and one that was shot by a human.

Lets face it, Valley View is a country road and not downtown Steamboat. There are many homeowners in the country that find it a necessity to protect their animals from the local wildlife. Many of you love your cats just as much as the dog owners love their pets, If the Golden Retreiver had his sights set on injuring a beloved pet for the 10th or 12th time, I can see this kind of reaction.

This article does not give us enough information to know the history or details of this interaction between neighbors. I am not supporting or condoning the shooting, but there may be more justification here than was reported.

PS. I absolutely do not buy the argument that "I was shooting in front of the dog and accidently hit him" What a crock of bull pucky.


housepoor 7 years, 11 months ago

If you commit a crime with a gun you should lose the rightprivilege to own firearms. The law should be that simple.


dave reynolds 7 years, 11 months ago

seems to me this all ties in with the dog park at a time when sales tax revenue is low it seems very selfish of dog owners wanting another dog park crap they don't clean up the ones they got.. in a community where "entitlement" seems to run rapid the last thing we need is another dog park people disobey the basic rules of driving witch are for your and others own safety so are we now to beleive that they will follow the guidlelines set at yet another dog park NAUGHT they will not..dont get me wrong i love animals but have been biten several times by "oh hes friendly" dogs..when i reported them to animal control the owners responce was "i cann't beleive that or they have never biten before..what a concept follow and obey all the laws and Routt county will be a better place for all of us to raise our families..and this includes the roadies who i have witnessed riding sometimes four or five a breast and not wanting to move the way i do not condon the responce of Mr cannon to shoot at an animal yet to shoot at it when a child is i believe was 50 to 70 feet away..shame on you if you can not hit the ground when your aiming at it then you need to sell your weapons before you really harm someone


Dave Ege 7 years, 11 months ago

The biggest problem I see with this and many other stories, especially the "jail report", is that people are named long before innocence or guilt is determined. XXX was booked into the Routt Co. Jail for xxx. There is hardly ever any other mention of the incident. Guilty or innocent, or not guilty is not usually disclosed. For those who are found not guilty or innocent, the damage has already been done. Their friends, neighbors, aquaintences, and potential customers have already made up his / her mind. Usually for the negative. Just my humble opinion and honest concern for those whom are, in the end "wrongly accused".


jk 7 years, 11 months ago

housepoor, Give me a break all these charges should be dropped, the dog and child were trespassing! And don't forget it is a right to own a firearm. windle, So if we are walking down the path and both of our dogs are leashed and your not vicious dog attacks mine thinking it is protecting you what then. Your dog has a "right" to defend you but Mr.Cannon doesn't have a right to defend his pet on his property??


trump_suit 7 years, 11 months ago

jk, I also fail to understand your point. In the eyes of the law, and also the common sense view there is a HUGE difference between two dogs fighting and a human intentionally shooting and animal.

Dogs are creatures of instinct and training and will always react in a predictable manner. Windle has been very effusive in his arguments about how his dog will react when approached by a "friendly, unleashed puppy" As a result, he has committed to have his dog leashed at all times to avoid uncontrolled behavior.

A human that chooses to use a firearm is not reacting with instinct but with willful intention and reason. You may not agree with that reasoning, but under no circumstances does anyone think the human reacted without thinking.

The difference is clear. The questions to be resolved here are:

Was the reasoning the shooter used appropriate and measured?

Was there a previous history here that caused such an extreme reaction?

Were the shooters reactions appropriate? and finally

Was there criminal intent and action?

The truth is out there, it just has not been reported yet. Both the paper and the public should refrain from judging this incident without ALL of the information available.

At this point in time, that information is NOT available and judgement should be withheld until it is.


JLM 7 years, 11 months ago

This story is more about guns than dogs.

Only an idiot picks up a gun when there are people around.

I am the greatest advocate of gun ownership possible --- hell, I think you should be REQUIRED to own a gun and you should teach your children to use a gun properly including for self defense. I think every man should go get a concealed gun permit and carry a gun with him all the time except when swimming.

But the fundamental responsibility of owning a gun is to know when NOT to use it.

This guy is an idiot and should have his guns taken away. But, hell, I think Pres Obama has got a jump on the situation already, eh? LOL


jk 7 years, 11 months ago

Trump, Thanks for the over-analyzation of a simple question I was asking someone else. I guess the point I was trying to make is a point I here all over these threads. Simplifying Government. Remember when you knew you didn't go on Mr. Smiths land because there was always a chance to get shot with rock salt. The sheriffs office was never involved, and your parents said "Well I guess if he is shooting at you for trespassing maybe you shouldn't do it!" And you learned that maybe you and Fido shouldn't go on Mr. Smiths land, because if you did there could be a certain "sting" involved. Ahh the good old values this country was founded on. I'm just trying to come up with a few ways to help curb the local budget and reduce government lol.


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