Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: The Graham County Sheriff’s Office responded to a case in which a livestock owner shot a dog that was harassing his goats.
By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – A man defended his livestock by shooting a dog that was harassing his goats Saturday and the owner of the dog was not too pleased.
A Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched at about 4:54 p.m. to a residence of W. Godric’s Hollow regarding the shooting.
Upon arrival, the owner of the livestock said he had returned to his residence at about 4:30 a.m. and found two dogs in his goat pen harassing the goats. He said he shot one of the dogs and tried to shoot the other, but it ran away.
The livestock owner also advised that the dogs, who belong to two separate owners, have come onto the property before and that last year he had some sheep killed by dogs.
After the shooting, the owner of the dog that was shot allegedly yelled and cursed at the livestock owner and his son.
When the deputy questioned the dog owner, he said the livestock owner had shot his dog while the dog was at his own house. The man also said that his dog was still alive at that point.
The deputy advised that he had inspected the goat pen and discovered dog tracks there. He said he believed that was where the shooting took place and that the livestock owner was justified in using the deadly force.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes 3-1311, “If any person discovers a dog killing, wounding, or chasing livestock, or discovers a dog under circumstances which show conclusively that it has recently killed or chased livestock, he may pursue and kill the dog.”
Additionally, the owner of any dog that chases livestock is liable for any damages caused by the dog. If a dog kills or wounds livestock, the owner of the dog is liable for damages to the owner of the livestock equal to three times the value of the livestock killed or wounded, according to the statute.
If a dog owner is found to have intentionally or recklessly allowed a dog to wound or kill livestock, they face a charge of a Class-1 misdemeanor. For allowing a dog to chase livestock, the owner faces a charge of a Class-3 misdemeanor.
The owner of the shot dog allegedly told the deputy that he understood and would not cause any problems. The livestock owner also advised that he had already spoken with the owner of the dog that wasn’t shot.