Wyoming Warden Shoots Pet Dog Harassing Elk

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Many states have laws that prevent pet dogs from harassing deer and elk, particularly during the long winter months. While it's rare to see the laws enforced, that appears to be just what has happened in the upper North Fork in Wyoming. The Cody Enterprise has a write up on the case.

"It's my fault and my responsibility," said Mike Neff, operations manager at Sleeping Giant Ski Area. His two-year-old female heeler/shepherd mix, "Bama," was shot by warden Craig Sax. Dogs must be kept under control in the national forest. Neff said he let his two dogs out of his cabin at Shoshone Lodge early that morning, and they ran off.


Rem2arms's picture

I agree, dog's chasing deer

I agree, dog's chasing deer in any state I hunt in here is illigal and I think it's good that the warden did his job supporting the law. Most times and a I dont know that he did this but they will notify the owner if possible and give them a warning first. The next time is to late for the dog/dogs. I support his decission.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Very sad that it had to

Very sad that it had to happen, but at the same time, I am very happy to see someone step up and take responsibility for what happened.

Too many times you will hear the people say "They didn't have to shoot them".  In this case it's a dog, but you can have a deranged guy running at the cops with knives, get shot, and his relatives would still try to sue the police citing excessive force.

It sounds like the officer felt pretty bad about doing it though.  Tough one for him.

arrowflipper's picture

Totally Agree

I totally agree with the agency shooting the dog.  And it looks like the owner was in agreement as well.  What turns something like this ugly is when the owner of the dog thinks that somehow his dog has the "right" to run free and sues the department.

All sportsmen should be supportive of this officer and what he did.  Our wildlife is a valuable natural resource and we need to do whatever it takes to protect that asset.  Pet owners need to keep their animals at home or on a leash.  Maybe the next time that dog might be chasing small children.

This brings up a sticky question: Do sportsmen have the right to shoot a dog they see chasing and/or harassing wildlife?  Would the pet owner have been as tolerant of his dog being shot if it had been by a hunter in the field?  I have mixed feelings on this one but I guess if I were pressed to make a final choice, I have to say that hunters should not be able to shoot animals they see.  It might give them the excuse to shoot their neighbor's dog that just keeps barking.  But if I were way out in the woods and came on a couple of big dogs chasing some deer, they better be able to outrun a bullet.

hunter25's picture

I agreee with the officers

I agreee with the officers actions and although I have nver seen it happen myself it was always the rule as a kid that dogs chasing deer should be shot. Apparently there were several feral packs in the area where I grew up also. Nice people leaving their pets out in the country for us rather than take care of them themselves.

The best thing about this article is the guy taking full responability for his dogs. We have had a couple shootings over here in years past and they always try to destroy the officer that made the decision no matter what the dog was doing. Most City people have no understanding of the reality of it and never take resposability for problems they create.

groovy mike's picture

I think this is a very positive article.

Despite the loss of a dog in this story I think this is a very positive article.        


 First the dog owner takes responsibility for his animals.  Good for him.  Dogs do run away but ultimately the owner is responsible for controlling them.  This guy wasn’t belligerent or  blaming the officer, he just stepped up and took responsibility.  Good for him.  The officer also stated that this was a last resort and an uncommon occurrence.  Too many officers are eager to put a dog down whether it is with a rifle or hauling them in to be gassed.  Some dogs do have to be shot.  I am not finding fault with the officer either but I am glad that he recognizes that it is an unpleasant and unfortunate circumstance.  Last, the elk herd was undamaged and one dog remains to comfort the owner.  It was not seized or shot when running away. 

jaybe's picture

Yes, I agree with Mike that

Yes, I agree with Mike that it was a positive article. I can imagine other cases where the owner would want to argue that the dog was just being a dog, or some other reason why it shouldn't have been shot.

I have seen dogs chasing deer twice in my hunting career and have been sorely tempted to shoot. But in Michigan, it is clearly spelled out in the hunting regulations that only Conservation Officers may destroy dogs that are harassing deer. IMO that's too bad, because in both cases in my experience, the nearest house was at least a mile away - maybe more. And in both cases, it was a small pack of dogs that were chasing the deer. They were clearly either pets out of control or they were feral dogs - I don't really know which. What was obvious was that they were most likely going to eventually run the deer down and kill it.

That was a good article. I had to wonder, though, if the guy had named his dog 'Bama' because he was fond of Alabama, or because he thought it bore a resemblance to someone. Who knows?