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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2003

DEER HUNTER MIGHT FACE CHARGES IN DOG'S DEATH

Man Shot Family Pet Because it Chased Target, official says

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Dana Wilson

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A deer hunter apparently fired at a Great Dane last weekend because he thought the dog was chasing his intended target, state wildlife officials said yesterday.

A deputy sheriff summoned to private property around 1 p.m. Sunday found the wounded dog, said Chief Deputy Wes Elson of the Muskingum County Sheriff's Department.

The animal received emergency medical treatment but died later that day.

John Devoll reported the shooting after his relatives' pet, Lex, was found injured near 1690 Russell St., northeast of Zanesville.

The shooting occurred on the final day of the deer gun season.

Wildlife officers also were called to the scene and are assisting with an investigation, Elson said.

Authorities refused to identify the hunter, who has not been charged.

Elson said a decision on charges depends on whether investigators rule the shooting was intentional. The suspect could be accused of cruelty to an animal, among other offenses.

Tom Donnelly, a law-enforcement supervisor with the Ohio Division of

Wildlife, said he was told "the dog was chasing a deer and a hunter decided he didn't like that."

Because the shooting involves a pet, not a wild animal, it's not considered a hunting incident, Donnelly said.

"Someone's personal property was destroyed," he said. "They're not hunting a deer anymore. They're taking it into their hands to shoot a dog."

The dog's owners did not return a phone call seeking comment.

But Nancy Gibbins, a family friend, said many people in the neighborhood knew and loved Lex. The dog's name was short for Lexie, she said.

"She was gorgeous. She was just a dog that wouldn't harm anything or anybody," she said. "You couldn't have a better dog."

Lex rarely strayed from the yard where she was found, Gibbins said.

Even if she was chasing deer, that didn't give the hunter the right to shoot her, she added.

"That's a terrible thing to do. We haven't got the name of who did it, but we'll find out, I'm sure, eventually."

dwilson@dispatch.com  


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