Kremmling rancher shoots, kills neighbor’s 4-month-old puppy with AR-15
KREMMLING — A Kremmling family is distraught after its four-month-old husky was shot to death outside its yard Monday afternoon, but police say no crime occurred.
On Monday evening, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home in Kremmling where a dog had gotten out of its fenced yard and onto a neighboring ranch. The rancher’s son shot the dog twice.
Around 4 p.m. Monday, Jeffrey Fowler, Jr., who is staying with his sister Gwendolyn Cook at her home in Kremmling, heard the first gunshot and went to see what was happening. Fowler said he saw his sister’s puppy, Demon, had escaped the fenced yard and was bleeding on the ground outside the fence.
Fowler said he saw a pickup truck near the dog and watched as the driver took a semi-automatic rifle and shot the dog a second time, killing it. Then the driver of the truck took the dog’s body and discarded it in a field, he said.
“It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “I yelled at him, and I wish I would have had my phone on me, so I could have videotaped it, but I was in such shock, I didn’t even consider it.”
Sheriff spokesman Lt. Dan Mayer said the rancher’s son believed the dog was harassing cattle and shot it with an AR-15, then followed it off the ranch property and shot it a second time, potentially so the dog didn’t suffer.
Cook, Demon’s owner, said the dog wasn’t aggressive and was very social. She believes he meant no harm and, if anything, was just trying to play with her neighbor’s cattle. Cook also noted that her dog wears a collar and tags with their information on it.
“I have lived next to farms my whole life, and they call you and say, ‘Hey, your dog is harassing my animals, so do something about it, or I will shoot them,’ and you do something about it,” she said. “I am just devastated, I can’t believe this would happen here.”
Mayer said the rancher’s son is protected by Colorado Title 35, which allows ranchers to kill dogs they believe are running, worrying or injuring their livestock regardless of whether the dog is on their property.
“The law specifically states that they can, and it’s a very hard point for the dog owners,” Mayer said. “The rancher does not have to really prove anything. They just have to say the dog was in the proximity of my cattle. … We aren’t real happy about it, but we can’t change the law.”
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