Wednesday, December 10, 2003
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
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
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
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
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 was gorgeous. She was just a dog that wouldn't harm
anything or anybody," she said. "You couldn't have a better
Lex rarely strayed from the yard where she was found,
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."