Killing of family dog should not go unpunished

I love dogs. I have always loved dogs. I am what you would call a dog person.

My wife and I have two rescue dogs and they are not merely pets to us – they are family members. We love them and care for them and they love us right back. The joy they bring us makes life even more full and wonderful.

We always had a dog when I was a kid, as did most people in my neighborhood. Back then, they were more in the “pet” category, although my boyhood dog was loved and pampered. Dogs spent more time outside than on the couch (a no-no for my parents). Now, our dogs are free to roam the house and even share the bed with us.

If you think that is strange, you are probably in the minority these days.

That is why the recent news of a family dog being shot and killed, apparently by a hunter, near Leaf River has me so sickened. Jackson was a black lab who was out with his brother, Casey, last December. Casey made it home, but Jackson did not.

He was eventually found dead – shot twice.

Yes, shot twice.

That tells me that a person, again it was apparently a hunter, shot a family pet on purpose. Was the dog scaring away potential prey? Was the dog bothering the hunter?

Honestly, I don’t care what the dog was doing. If a dog who lives in the area is hurting your hunting experience, shoo him away. Or go talk with his owners. Or just leave and come back at a later time.

Don’t shoot the animal.

In fact, a person who would shoot a family pet is probably just not a good person. As a dog lover, I am choosing my words very carefully for this family publication. If we were sitting at the bar on a Friday after work, I might use more, ah, colorful language.

I have talked with Jackson’s owner and she is devastated by his loss. I would be too if I was in her shoes. And like her, I would be angry as hell.

The Ogle-Lee County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who has information about the shooting. So far, no one has come forward with any information. But I am hopeful that someone who knows something will, or the person responsible for this sickening deed will be a human being and accept responsibility.

Honestly, I don’t have much hope that will happen. People never fail to show their true colors in a situation like this. I would bet that the number of people who would actually shoot a dog like this is very low.

That means you, Mr. or Mrs. Shooter, are a very special case indeed. Cruel and inhumane, to be sure. But thankfully, I believe you are rare.

I do hope you are reading this, and I do hope that this has caused you to lose sleep. How would your family, friends and co-workers feel about you killing a family pet? How would your mother and father feel? Fellow church members?

I will answer that for you – they would be ashamed of you.

If you are so desperate to bag a deer that you have to kill a family dog, you probably need to just stay out of the woods.