va dog shootThis disturbing story ran in my local newspaper a while back, front page. Here’s the gist of it:

A family let their dogs out of the house one day last October. Meantime, on the adjoining property two guys were sitting in tree stands with their bows, hunting deer. The dog owners called for their dogs to come back, but one animal did not return. That 5-year-old German Shepard had walked under one of the hunters’ stands.

According to reports, for some odd reason, the hunters exchanged texts about what to do about the dog. Allegedly one of the men, a 47-year-old chiropractor, said he would handle it, and he shot the dog twice.

When asked by authorities why he did it, the shooter said it was fear because he had been “cornered by dogs when he was younger and didn’t want to take that chance again” even though he was 15 feet up in a tree.

It should be noted that according to some reports, the dog shooter’s 10-year-old son was also along on the hunt, apparently up in a stand also. I truly hope the kid did not see the shots.

The dog’s owner, who admits the German Shepard was running loose off his land, is quoted as saying, “She was chasing a deer. Even then, their noses are to the ground following a deer. That man was not in danger. That man was not fearful for himself. That man was pissed off that quote unquote they ruined his hunting day.”

While not entirely clear, it appears one of the bow hunters called the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and reported what had happened. The shooter was charged with cruelty to animals and destruction of personal property greater than $1,000.

Our semi-rural community is typical of many around the country these days—a good number of deer hunters and more pet owners/lovers who are not necessarily anti-deer hunting, but are up on the fence about it. One event like this and boom, many if not most of them jump right off the fence and into the anti-hunting crowd, at least for a while until they forget about it.

Worse, a salacious event like this in a small community soon goes viral; this story has been picked up by online news sites in Houston, Colorado and even in the United Kingdom. One bone-headed act by this “hunter,” and I use that term very loosely, blows up into terrible publicity for hunters across the country and the world.

Ironically, just about the time of this unfortunate event last October, I posted this blog about dogs chasing deer and the volatile circumstance it can create. I wrote: I fall into a small group of people who say they could not and would not shoot a dog UNLESS they were still-hunting or walking to or from a stand, and ran into a barking, snarling dog that was running wild and chasing deer and generally causing havoc… We blogged and discussed how bad it would be to shoot somebody’s pet dog, and the damage it would do to our image. Little did I know it was happening less than 20 miles down the road.

So what will happen to the dog-shooting chiropractor from Va.? Reports say an initial plea bargain was denied, and he was indicted in March. The case now moves to a jury trial. If this does indeed go to trial, I do not like his chances. What do you think the punishment should be?