Animals

Dec 14, 2011 5:59 PM by Andy Koen

Veterinarian wants hunting laws changed after dog was shot

Lisa Berg and Jeff Snyder take their dog Reka, a Malamute/Husky mix, hiking everyday. She has even climbed with Jeff to the top of some 14'ers. But on Saturday, their hike in the Pike National Forest near their home in Divide went terribly wrong.

"He heard a gun shot and he started yelling for the dogs and heard some yelling at the top of the hill and some hunters called out to him that they shot our dog," Lisa said.

Jeff, a doctor, wrapped the dog with his sweater to stop the bleeding and called Lisa who is a veterinarian. She rushed Reka to the Teller County Veterinary Clinic.

"I was hysterical. I was crying, I was sobbing, I was worried, I was feeling sick that I was going to lose my dog," she recalls.

She and a colleague operated on Reka for more than two hours and the dog pulled through. Still, the ordeal has left Lisa shaken.

"There is currently no specific law for shooting a domestic animal when your target it wildlife."

It's still an active case being investigated by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Spokesperson Michael Seraphin says his agency is working in cooperation with the Teller County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's office to determine what if any charges might be filed.

He says the two hunters, who are from Colorado Springs and Castle Rock, were looking for coyotes in an area that's considered legal and safe to hunt in. They were also using a calling device to attract the coyotes that may have drawn Reka's attention.

"There were four dogs actually being walked by their owners, three of them had blaze orange vests on. The dog that was shot did not," Seraphin said.

Still, Lisa says the hunters should have looked closer before pulling the trigger. She wants there to be stiffer penalties enforced for hunters who mistakenly shoot domestic animals.

"This isn't anti-gun, it's not anti-hunting. This is about if you're going to be careless, you need to be punished for it," she said.

Lisa and some friends have begun an email campaign to try and persuade lawmakers, but she admits she's still learning about what it takes to change the hunting regulations.

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