Layne Spence still brings his two malamute dogs, Rex and Frank, to run along the Clark Fork River in Missoula, but he’s not ready to take them back into the woods.
“This is where I let them run around,” Spence said on a winter afternoon near the Higgins Avenue Bridge. “You can tell they need to run. But we were out on the Kim Williams Trail where they were doing some work, and when somebody used a nail gun, the dogs just freaked out.”
On Nov. 17, a hunter shot and killed Spence’s third malamute, Little Dave, on the road above Lee Creek Campground near Lolo Pass. Spence was cross-country skiing with Little Dave, Rex and Frank a few hundred yards from the road gate when he heard gunshots and saw the dog get hit. Spence said he screamed for the man to stop, but the shooting continued.
The hunter approached Spence and said he mistook Little Dave for a wolf. All three pet dogs were wearing lighted collars. The incident took place in the middle of Montana’s hunting season, but on a closed road popular for winter recreation.
Spence reported the incident to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department, which determined it had no basis for further investigation. There is no state law making it a criminal act to accidentally kill someone’s domestic pet.
The sheriff’s office also sent details to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service. Both agencies found no legal basis to charge the hunter with a crime.
Several days after the incident became public, the hunter appeared at the sheriff’s department. After an interview, officials reconfirmed their previous position – no law was broken. They did not release the man’s identity or further details of the interview.
Still, Spence wants justice…… read the rest below
Update 2013: Man whose malamute was killed seeks legal fix. https://protectthewolves.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/52894d58569d7.preview-100.jpg