Man shoots dog to save livestock

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – A Graham County man shot and killed a dog on Sunday to save the life of his goat.

According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, a deputy was dispatched at about 4:31 a.m. to a residence on W. 40th Street regarding the incident. Upon arrival, the deputy was shown a deceased brindle-colored English Bulldog canine.

The resident reportedly told the deputy that he was on his couch when he heard something going on with his goat. He went outside and discovered the dog he had never seen before with his goat’s neck in his mouth and would not release the animal. The man then shot the dog, freeing the goat.

After initially seeing the goat wasn’t breathing, once the dog’s mouth was removed the blood apparently began to flow to the goat again and the animal began to breathe.

The deputy noted that there was blood on the goat and the fur on its neck was wet and matted. The man advised he would take care of the goat and not take it to see a veterinarian. The report stated a tag was found on the dog and an attempt would be made to contact the owner.

Days after this article first came out, however, the dog’s owner contacted the Gila Herald and said she was never contacted and that she learned of her dog’s death through the article. The owner said the dog, who she described as a 2-year-old English Bulldog named Thor, wasn’t vicious and was a beloved pet who had previously gotten along with their own livestock. She said Thor made it out of their yard by digging a hole under the fence and that the dog had been buried before she even learned of its fate.

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.

This article was updated to include comment from the dog’s owner.