Dog shot south of Steamboat expected to survive

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— A Craig man’s 10-year-old black Labrador retriever was shot Saturday afternoon along Colorado Highway 131 just south of Steamboat Springs.

The Routt County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident because it occurred outside city limits.

Undersheriff Ray Birch said the dog underwent surgery at Steamboat Veterinary Hospital and is expected to survive. X-rays showed what is thought to be five buckshot pellets from a shotgun in the dog’s chest.

"It was a local person who shot to protect their animals," Birch said.

Birch said the dog was shot sometime between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Craig man told deputies he left his dog on the side of Colo. 131 about one mile from U.S. Highway 40 because his dog could not walk any more. The man and his dog were walking back from Steamboat after getting gas, which the man’s truck had run out of. After the man returned with his truck, he discovered the dog was bleeding from the chest.

Birch said the man drove to the west side of Steamboat and contacted a Steamboat Springs Police Department officer at a business at the corner of Elk River Road and Lincoln Avenue. Officer Sam Silva helped the man get the dog to Steamboat Veterinary Hospital next door, and the dog was treated by Dr. Nate Daughenbaugh.

A rural Steamboat Springs resident who lives in the area said the dog was coming after his turkeys and dog and was headed to his horse corral. It is legal for residents to protect their livestock. Criminal charges are not being pursued. The man's name has not been released.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Candice Martin 2 years, 4 months ago

IF THE DOG WAS TOO TIRED TO WALK, HE WOULD NOT BE A "THREAT" TO ANY LIVESTOCK! CRUEL ACTS LIKE THESE MAKE MY HEART ACHE. POOR POOR DOG. HE MUST HAVE BEEN SO SCARED & CONFUSED :*{

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 4 months ago

And the guy's story is then when he had the gas then he went past where he left his dog (too exhausted to walk and so likely to be picked up by a compassionate person and brought to the Animal Shelter) and continued on to his truck and then drove back to where he left his dog.

I note the story makes more sense if he had left his dog with his truck and was gone when he returned and then he drove around looking for it.

There is little doubt to me that the property owner had little choice to do what was done. There was no owner to contact or anything else to do.

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brian ferguson 2 years, 4 months ago

Nothing else to do...I doubt it.How about chasing the dog off with a shovel..or with a vehicle, maybe some shouting and yelling would have done the trick....nah...just pull out the shotgun. Would hate to run out of gas in front of this guys property or have some kind of medical emergency.Walking up the driveway to ask for assistance would most likely be your last move. Isnt it illegal to be shooting guns during this fire ban?

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow, Candice - all caps. That's like, really capital and stuff.

Like it or not, the property owner was within his rights. If you're going to be a dog owner in rural CO, it is incumbent on you to understand those rights and control your animal appropriately. My neighbor grazes cattle on the parcel adjacent to mine. If he ever saw my dog harassing his stock, he'd be absolutely justified in shooting my beloved 8-year old Bouvier. And the fault would be mine, not his.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think there's enough information presented to pass judgment here, certainly not enough to conclude that there was "little choice" in the matter. The property owner was within his rights IF and ONLY IF the dog was threatening livestock. Unfortunately, too many ranchers get all trigger happy if they even see an unknown dog on their property -- I've witnessed this more than once, and it still makes me sick to my stomach -- NO it is NOT legal to shoot someone's dog for mere trespassing, even on a ranch.

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2010/jun/02/dog-shot-outside-yampa/

It's hard to blame ranchers for believing they're "within their rights" to just up and shoot dogs for trespassing, when charges never seem to be filed when they do. However, if the shooter cannot claim (let alone prove) the dog was attacking, threatening, or even just chasing livestock, then it falls under the animal cruelty law and the shooter should be charged accordingly.

But, that never happens, which is why it's open season on people's pets around here, and folks will insist it's all on the up-and-up regardless of the facts, because owning ag-zoned land apparently comes with an inherent right to kill any dog that comes in shotgun range. If people really think all dog killings on ag-zoned land are just and proper, then the law should be changed to reflect that -- otherwise the laws should be enforced as they're written in the books.

My malamute was shot by a rancher. But, he was chasing sheep. Although I knew it was harmless fun, I can't blame the rancher, who thought otherwise. I was devastated, but had to accept what happened. Had my dog simply been on someone else's property, I'd have screamed bloody blue murder, demanded criminal charges and taken the bastard to civil court, which would've been well within MY right to not have my pet murdered for target practice.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Anyone who allows their dog to run loose in a rural area where there is livestock or lets their dog get loose from them and out of their control is careless or an idiot. Unfortunately the dog often pays the price for the carelessness or stupidity of its owner.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 4 months ago

Or sometimes you come home from work, and find your dog's tie-down and collar/tags coiled neatly on the porch. Try not to judge without knowing all the facts.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Then you are saying that someone intentionally turned your dog loose so that he would be in danger? Then that is the guy or gal that I would be venting my anger towards instead of some rancher who was protecting his livestock. Most ranchers I know own dogs and none of them would derive any pleasure from having to kill a dog. If some one intentionally turned your dog loose, you have some one who really does not like you.

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

"Try not to judge without knowing all the facts."

It seems you're doing exactly that, Eric. Castigating "trigger happy ranchers", and suggesting that the shooter in this incident is guilty of some infraction - without providing a particle of evidence. Hypocrite much?

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Sep. That is what got my arenaline flowing. Just a blanket attack on ranchers. They were here before the ski area so I think the newcomers, me included, should adjust to them when adjustments are required. A dog running loose is at risk. People should control their dogs or accept the fact they may not survive their little romp, be it a bullet or automobile.

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

It would be interesting to see some reliable stats delineating the dogs killed by “trigger happy ranchers” vs. dogs killed by cars. I moved from town to the county about 7 years ago. The most irresponsible dog owners I have encountered – by FAR – have been in town. Meigs (my Bouvier) has been sufficiently well trained to know what's off limits. He can go after all the whistle pigs & squirrels & rabbits & feral cats & magpies (talk about the triumph of hope over experience!) he wants. Anything else, and he suffers the wrath of Sep – unpleasant, but instructive and non-lethal.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 4 months ago

It's exactly the response to my comments in this thread, which make participating here so pointless. Way to twist what I said into a strawman and shoot it down, guys.

"If some one intentionally turned your dog loose, you have some one who really does not like you."

No, this was 1994. I've only attracted haters with the advent of Internet comments. ;-)

Sep, how does your dog know which cat is feral and which is someone's pet? Isn't it irresponsible to train your dog to attack cats, period? Not to mention marmots? Sounds just as bad as the bloodthirsty ranchers I've witnessed driving out of their way to shoot dogs with collars, who were nowhere near, nor headed towards, any sort of livestock -- just preventing "coydogs," I was told.

Oh, sorry, it's hypocritical somehow to speak of my own experience (both my dog, and someone else's dogs whose executions I unfortunately witnessed, good shooting though, killed both dogs with one round from a 12-gauge, point-blank) and point out a fact anyone can search for themselves -- the dog must pose an imminent threat, as my dog who was shot (which, as I said, I was not angry about) did, or else it's as illegal to gun down someone's pet as it is in town, for the same reasons (animal cruelty law applies).

This statement of fact in no way disparages all ranchers, nor suggests any conclusion about this or any other incident, nor suggests that I don't think people should control their dogs. These are strawman arguments, as is the comparison between accidental deaths (though some dog/cat hits are deliberate, too), and deliberate gun killings. I think someone's pet being gunned down deserves a little more scrutiny than random car accidents, instead of being assumed to be OK due to zoning.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Eric Then how did your dog get loose? You said his tie down and leash were coiled on your porch. Did he pull his tie down out of the ground? What happened? I do not hate you. I do not know you. We just have a difference of opinion about loose dogs and whether or not there are "trigger happy ranchers" or "blood thirsty" ranchers driving around looking for dogs to shoot. We also do not agree that the owner of the dog is responsible for the dogs death if he does not maintain control of his dog be the death be by gunshot or vehicle.

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

Like it or not, Eric, your initial post is blanket indictment of ranchers insisting that shootings are "...on the up-and-up regardless of the facts, because owning ag-zoned land apparently comes with an inherent right to kill any dog that comes in shotgun range."

Your indignant insinuation is clear. Backpedal away from it all you like. Or just grow up.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm not backpedaling from anything. When you see someone make a three-mile round trip just to shoot some dogs, yeah, it's bloodthirsty and trigger-happy. Which still doesn't amount to a blanket indictment of anyone. How my words should be taken, is an appalled reaction to the comments here, that the dog deserved to die because it was trespassing. I never said ranchers were making such insistences, those I know euthanize their pets at the vet. But I've seen others, who don't.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 4 months ago

"Did he pull his tie down out of the ground? What happened?"

I always figured he was stolen, escaped, and got shot (two days later) returning home. It's an enigma, to be sure.

"We also do not agree that the owner of the dog is responsible for the dogs death if he does not maintain control of his dog be the death be by gunshot or vehicle."

But killing a dog for trespassing goes beyond punishing the owner (we have animal control to round up the dog and issue the owner a FINE, not put the dog down, for that), amounting to a crime against the dog's humanity (or so I've always interpreted the animal cruelty laws). It isn't about what the owner "deserved" to have happen for negligence (if that was the case), it's about what the DOG deserved to have happen. There's no death penalty against dogs for trespassing (not justified), even if you're a rancher -- only for chasing livestock (justified).

My point is, if the Pilot is going to cover rural dog shootings (they never used to), they should attempt to ascertain whether or not the dog was chasing livestock. Because it isn't automatically OK for dogs to be shot by anyone, which is the only insinuation here, and it's one I object to strongly, having seen dogs murdered hereabouts.

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

"...if the Pilot is going to cover rural dog shootings (they never used to), they should attempt to ascertain whether or not the dog was chasing livestock." How, exactly? The only witness in this instance is the property owner. Or is it your proposition that he's guilty until proven innoncent?

"It's exactly the response to my comments in this thread, which make participating here so pointless."

Clearly you are enamored of pointlessness, as you have weighed in multiple times since wailing about the futility of it all.

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brian ferguson 2 years, 4 months ago

Having owned livestock (2 cats) for 16 years, its crazy to think back to all the times I had to defend them from loose dogs. The most memorable being when 2 full sized bloodhounds came flying through an open window (aaaah oak creek...good times) in hot pursuit of my 2 precious fluffballs. A very scary moment indeed. Everyone survived,no shots were fired, as my cats flew (yes, cats CAN fly, I've seen it) out the window and into the saftey of the closest tree. I followed them to the backyard and chased the dogs away.Two huge full grown slobbering howling scary as hell dogs. No shots were fired.Everyone Survived.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 4 months ago

My 20-yr-old cat was nearly killed by two dogs last year, but I didn't grab my 12-gauge, either. Ironically, dogs and cats aren't considered "domestic animals" by the law which allows ranchers to shoot dogs attacking livestock or horses -- a rancher can't shoot a dog that's attacking his cat or dog.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Eric I am sorry about the loss of your dog and cat. I had a golden in Littleton many years ago. She brought back many ducks in Alamosa and Monte Vista. She was in a dog run in a fenced back yard and never off leash in Littleton when walked every day. I almost lost her on two occasions. Once I was afraid she was going to drown when she would not give up on catching a wounded diving duck. Once when we caught a ride with a DOW officer at the end of the day she did not follow us and instead went back and slept on my decoy bag. I did not sleep at all but I think she got a good nights rest as we found her asleep the next morning. That was me being negligent and it never happened again. I live on 5 acres and often get neighbors dogs on my property. Have not shot one yet. Never hit one on the road either. If I had a dog now and another dog attacked it on my property, I would probably use a shovel on it. Much handier than my guns which are in the house. Did you call animal control or the police or sheriff about your cat? I would have although I have never owned a cat. To each his own.Interesting how much discussion this has generated. Want to talk about Obama vs Romney? Not me, I can not stand any politicians.

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Jay Whaley 2 years, 4 months ago

I find it interesting the paper is willing to talk about the shot dog- or dogs through the years, but fails to mention any livestock ever mauled or killed by dogs. I know first hand what dogs can do to livestock, just last weekend we had sheep killed and mauled by dogs because I made the choice to chase the dogs off first- I will shoot first next time. Between dead sheep and the cost of vet bills it cost us in the thousands and years of breeding and work. If you are going to be a dog owner you better be willing to control your dog in rural Routt County. That’ s the Ag. side of the story.

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Brian Kotowski 2 years, 4 months ago

8 or 9 Winter Carnivals ago, I was on Lincoln Avenue with my Springer Spaniel (Sherman) on a leash. An Akita came charging in from out of nowhere and latched onto Sherman. No contest - Sherman was dogmeat. The Akita's owner was having little success controlling his dog, so I waded in with my pocket knife and was able to administer one good solid stab without getting bitten. The Akita let go. $800 to treat Sherman (paid for by the Akita's owner); I don't what the stab wound cost the other guy.

Eric says that when one of his pets was similarly threatened, he "didn't grab his 12-gauge, either." More power to you, Eric. It's your choice. The only reason I used a knife do defend Sherman that day is because my .38 was in the car. I have since acquired the relevant permit, and am now better equipped to deal with unexpected assailants.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 4 months ago

Jay Good point! I support you and all other ranchers. If all dog owners acted responsibly this would be a non issue as there would be no dogs running loose.

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Brent Boyer 2 years, 4 months ago

Hi Jay, Thanks for sharing your story, and I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your sheep. The ag side of the story is a relevant one, and to be honest, I haven't been made aware of any such incidents in recent years. Knowing it's happening is the first step toward being able to report on it to the community. We were made aware of the dog shooting cited in the above article only because we heard the radio traffic about it over our police scanners.

Brent Boyer Editor 970-871-4221 bboyer@SteamboatToday.com

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 4 months ago

@jerry:

My cat's fine, "Dude" is about to turn 21. I said, "nearly killed." :-) We don't go for nightly walks around the neighborhood anymore, he mostly sleeps, and mainly goes outside just to lay on the porch instead of marking and defending his turf. Losing a lower fang has slowed him down at the food bowl, he'd been getting fat so that's actually been a good thing. Basically, his quality of life has degraded to about what most cats can expect for their whole life. The nine compound-fractured ribs and internal bleeding all healed up fine, and he's a touch diabetic, gets 5 units of insulin twice a day.

He's a Maine Coon, I think -- I'm his 4th owner which makes his age hard to peg, I met him 19 years ago, he used to play with my Malamute when he was a ranch cat. Dr. Gotchey calls him a "good dog," when he wanted to go outside he used to stand up and rattle the doorknob he could wrap his paws around -- IOW, a big kitty. He'll be missed, but not anytime soon, doesn't look like. Anyway, yes, the Sheriff's dept. responded (woulda preferred Lance or Eileen), the dogs' owner was fined about half of what my vet bills came to.

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