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Laws were broken


Apologies in advance for a lengthy letter that first cites a portion of Montana Code Annotated 87-6-404:

“(1) (b) A person may not purposely, knowingly, or negligently permit a dog to chase, stalk, pursue, attack or kill a hooved game animal. If the dog is not under the control of an adult at the time of the violation, the owner of the dog is personally responsible. A defense that the dog was allowed to run at large by another person is not allowable unless it is shown that at the time of the violation, the dog was running at large without the consent of the owner and that the owner took reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from running at large. (2) ……. a peace officer, game warden, or other person authorized to enforce the Montana fish and game laws who witnesses a dog chasing, stalking, pursuing, attacking, or killing a hooved game animal may destroy that dog on public land or on private land at the request of the landowner without criminal or civil liability.”

July 4, while walking on our property, my husband heard two gunshots close by and a dog yelp. Our dogs ran to investigate, finding an unknown (to us) dog that had just been shot and killed on our property. Referencing the above MCA, there were a few laws broken by person or persons;

• A dog was running at large,

• We had not reported (were in fact unaware of) this dog running at large, so had not given anyone permission to kill him,

• Having made reports when we discovered the dead dog, to peace officers and Fish & Game, we know they were not the unknown person who shot and killed the dog,

• Someone trespassed on our property to shoot this dog,

• Someone shot a firearm on or into our property without our permission.

This was, and continues to be, a difficult experience for us. To find an animal killed on our property is a violation of our space, and personally traumatic as we care so deeply for our own animals. We do not condone dogs chasing game or domestic stock, but if the person who shot this dog thinks they have the right to act like a vigilante, they should refer back to the above MCA. What they did was morally and legally wrong.

Rusti Leivestad,

Thompson Falls


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