Steamboat Springs Tom Cannon, the 68-year-old Routt County resident who shot and injured his neighbor's golden retriever Wednesday, says the incident has been overblown and that the shooting was the result of repeated trespasses.
Cannon was arrested Wednesday night after Routt County Sheriff's Office deputies were called to his home on Valley View Lane near Yellow Jacket Pass. On Friday, Cannon admitted to shooting the dog but said it was an accident.
"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.
Cannon, who has lived on Valley View Lane for 25 years, said his neighbor's dog often wanders onto his property and sometimes approaches the barn where Cannon's cat lives. Cannon said the dog has never posed a threat to him, but he has feared for his cat.
Greg Nelson, the dog's owner, said his golden retriever had never before ventured onto Cannon's property and that trespassing complaints have never been made to the authorities.
"That statement is ridiculous," Nelson said about the trespassing allegations.
Nelson said his family was having a paintball war Wednesday when the golden retriever and Nelson's 13-year-old son wandered onto Cannon's 16-acre property. The boy was not walking the dog as initially was reported.
Cannon said the boy was between 50 and 75 yards away from the dog when he pulled the trigger. Cannon also disputed his neighbors' claim that he was wearing only his underwear. Cannon said he was fully clothed when he fired his rifle in an attempt to scare the dog.
"It's being blown out of proportion," Cannon said about the incident.
He was arrested 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 said he had only one beer with dinner before the shooting.