Krista Corner Havre Daily News email@example.com
A dead Dalmatian in a Fresno Reservoir dumpster, west of Havre, raised some serious questions for Blaze Wendland of Rudyard. Questions like, Is this normal? What were the circumstances behind the shooting? Was it animal cruelty? Wendland said during an expedition near the dump, he saw blood and lots of it. "(There was) blood on the top of the dumpster," Wendland said. "I didn't think anything of it because we usually see lots of blood." Especially after hunting season when hunters throw the deer carcasses out, he added. What got him though, was that Dalmatians are generally nice, domesticated dogs and it looked as if the dog had been shot and then dumped. "Someone had done the deed right there and thrown him in," Wendland said. "Not even an ordinary mutt deserves that, so I went and told the sheriff's office about it." Wendland said he felt the deputy handling his report didn't seem too concerned, so he spoke with Hill County Sanitarian Clay Vincent. He said Vincent told him things like this happen a lot. Is shooting and dumping a dog normal? "It's not so much of a dog getting shot right there," Vincent said about what he has seen over the years. "More like when the dogs get in the dumpsters then get hauled into the landfill and then come flying out," he added. Vincent said animals that aren't in their owner's control quite frequently climb into one of 17 dumpster sites throughout Hill and neighboring counties. Then, when the animals are discovered at the landfill, they usually aren't wearing a collar and are half wild. "When we have an animal hanging out at the dump, we either get animal control to come out or we have to shoot them," Vincent said. Sometimes, other circumstances come into play when garbage truck drivers find animals, he added. "We have instances, too, where someone won't want an animal and will pitch it into the dumpster," he said. "The driver will find the animal and it's not in very good shape. Then the driver gets ahold of the sheriff or a vet, but most often the animal is transient." Vincent added that the situation can be heartbreaking at times. "Some of them are very nice pets, and some of them we find homes for, but most of them are just wild and we don't know what else to do with them," he said. What were the circumstances? Wendland said of the dog he found, that while he wasn't aware of the circumstances behind the recent shooting and that if the dog had to be put down he understood he certainly didn't appreciate finding a dog like that. "I don't know the whole story, maybe the dog was mean," he said. "I've had to put horses down, but I've never been able to put a dog down. My cousin has had to do it. Somebody could've been a little more couth about the way they did it, though. There's just too much (cruelty) going on." Animal control officer Gordon Inabit said whether the shooting was illegal or not depends on what happened. "I would have to know the story," he said. "You're supposed to render aid to a hurt animal, and if it was pretty busted up that would be something for a court decide if shooting a hurt animal to put it out of its misery is illegal." What is the law? Inabit said that shooting an animal could be considered cruelty. "As far as taking a healthy dog and shooting it, yes that would be animal cruelty," he said. Hill County does have specific laws for dog owners, both Vincent and Inabit said. "They're supposed to be in the control of the owner and if they're not, they get hauled away," Vincent said. "They have to have (the pets) in their control and make sure they have their shots up to date. If people would have these in their control then they wouldn't be getting hauled away for 50 miles and going crazy." "The cruelty (law) does state that owners must provide food, water and shelter," Inabit said. "Physical abuse renders animal cruelty like kicking, punching and whatever." And the impact? Wendland said had he been the one to find the dog, he might not have had such an adverse reaction. "The look on my little boy's face ," Wendland said. His 4-year-old son, didn't understand what was going on, he said, because they own a Dalmatian. "He asked me, 'Daddy, what's wrong with Dutch?'" Wendland said. "I had to explain to him that wasn't Dutch. It was almost like the dog was murdered."