Donna Stocks has fond memories of Precious, an Australian shepherd-Labrador mix that was her loyal companion for the past 15 years.
“Precious was beautiful. She had one blue eye and one brown one. She was gentle, good with kids and other animals,” she said.
Stocks lives just outside Soldotna city limits, on Humecky Circle off Funny River Road, not far from Spenard Builders Supply. She said almost everyone on her street knew Precious.
“The neighbors even put out a blanket for her because she would go over to visit their dogs and lie near the fence,” she said.
At 15 years old, though, Stocks said Precious was starting to slow down. But in the end, it wasn’t time that caught up with her canine companion. Instead it was a bullet that last Tuesday ended the dog’s life.
“She was found behind the neighbors, and she was shot,” Stocks said.
Her partner, Frank Miriman, is an avid hunter, and she said he immediately recognized the telltale signs of a bullet wound.
“He knew right away from the big hole in her neck,” she said.
Unfortunately for Stocks, as a hunter, Miriman also knew the shot Precious sustained did not result in a clean kill and they believe the dog likely suffered.
Stocks said, barely audible through cracking voice and tears, “She was shot in the neck, and it was obvious it didn’t kill her immediately. She bled out. It was so inhumane.”
Stocks said she can’t understand who, or the reason why, anyone would hurt Precious.
“I don’t know why some cruel, hateful person did this. Precious had arthritis in the hips, so there’s no way she chased chickens or moose, and she was never the type of dog to get into people’s trash,” she said.
In addition to her feelings of grief, Precious’ untimely death also has Stocks concerned, for pets and people.
“This isn’t a rural area, or a place where people should be shooting off guns. My grandchildren play in the area where Precious was shot,” she said.
“This is the second dog in six months we’ve lost. Precious’ 14-year-old offspring, Sammy, went missing last summer, so now we’re questioning his disappearance, too.”
Also, since learning of Precious’s death, Stocks said two other neighbors have come forward, one that said their dog died recently of similar circumstances and another claims someone told them if they knew what was good for their pet they’d keep it indoors.
Alaska State Troopers currently are investigating the incident, and although it did not occur within city limits, Marianne Clark, chief officer at the Soldotna Animal Control Shelter said, “This speaks to the need for the state or borough to provide minimal animal control services.”
Regardless of where the shooting took place, Clark added, state statutes are clear on this matter.
According to statute AS 03.55.010, a person may lawfully kill a dog if it is vicious or mad and running at large, while statute AS 03.55.030 states a person may lawfully kill a dog that habitually annoys wildlife or other domestic animals or demonstrates a disposition that it will without provocation bite an animal or fowl, when at large.
However, the latter statute further states the owner of the dog shall be notified and given reasonable opportunity to restrain the dog before it is lawful to kill it.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia @peninsulaclarion.com.
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