Detective assigned to Steamboat dog-shooting case |

Detective assigned to Steamboat dog-shooting case

Police say they have leads; Hermans say they weren’t involved

— Two men working at a shop near where police think a dog was shot Saturday morning say they have no idea who pulled the trigger.

Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Dave Kleiber said Tuesday that Duke, a 10-year-old Labrador retriever owned by the Arnone family of Steamboat Springs, was shot in the rear end while wandering in front of a Dumpster at 1327 Indian Trails. Despite surgery, the dog died Sunday.

"We have some viable leads that we are following right now," said Kleiber, who was assigned the case Monday.

Police have canvassed the Indian Trails neighborhood twice, Kleiber said, but no one has come forward as a witness to the shooting.

Del Herman said Tuesday that he was having coffee at the shop and helping his son Rod change a tire Saturday morning at about 8:30 a.m., the time police say the shooting took place. The Hermans own the building as well as the subdivision.

Del Herman and his son said Tuesday that they did not hear any gunshots and that they have no idea who might have shot the dog.

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"Of course I didn't, and he didn't," Herman said about Rod. "He's innocent as hell, just as I am."

Herman said an automotive shop in the building was closed, but he saw a few people in the area, including a friend who came to pick up a trailer. There were people driving by the property, and some people in the neighborhood sometimes use the trash containers where the dog was shot, Herman said. He said he learned about the shooting when three police officers showed up at the shop.

Rod Herman also said Tuesday that he did not see or hear anything unusual Saturday morning.

"I wouldn't shoot a dog," Rod Herman said. "That would be devastating."

Police say a bullet recovered from the dog showed it was shot with a .22-caliber gun.

"I've got a couple of them, and I offered them to the police," Rod Herman said about .22s. "They didn't take me up on it yet."

Kleiber would not say whether there are any suspects, but he said there are people he wanted to interview and people are cooperating. He said police are taking the case seriously.

"We're looking at various legal options that are available to us to do what we can to investigate this," Kleiber said.

Charges including felony animal cruelty, misdemeanor disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment could be levied. Kleiber said it is also a possibility that the shooting was justified if the dog was going to hurt someone.

"You'd be absolutely justified in using deadly force to keep that from happening," Kleiber said.

People with information about the shooting can call Kleiber at 970-879-4345. Those who want to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 970-870-6226.

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or e-mail