Steamboat Springs Routt County Sheriff’s Office animal control officers are investigating the reported shooting of a dog on county land about 4 miles from Yampa on Saturday.
The dog’s owner, Joshua Flaharty, said his dog, Mr. Bubbles, was outside for less than a minute at a junkyard when he apparently wandered into a nearby field. As he was looking for his dog, a 3-year-old English Boxer, Flaharty said he heard a gunshot.
Flaharty continued to look for his dog, and a short time later he said that the landowner approached him and said he had shot Mr. Bubbles.
Flaharty, 22, said the dog had a gentle demeanor and wasn’t near any livestock.
“This dog was the most gentle 80-pound dog you’ve ever seen in your life,” he said. “If you go to give him a treat, he takes it out of your hand with his lips, he doesn’t even bite it.”
Animal control officer Cindy DelValle confirmed Tuesday that the dog was shot and that she’s investigating the case. She said she’s still gathering information. She declined to discuss details of the case.
DelValle said that, in general, ranchers are permitted to shoot domestic dogs if they feel they, their livestock, their domestic animals, children or property are in harm’s way.
If nothing was threatened, however, the shooter could be charged with violating either state or county animal cruelty laws.
Flaharty, who has lived in Oak Creek off and on for most of his life, said he is considering his options, including civil charges against the landowner.
“We’ve cried so much today, we can’t even cry any more,” he said.
Several calls to the reported landowner were not answered Tuesday.
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