WENATCHEE - Prosecutors have decided not to file charges against a Chelan County employee who shot his dog in an euthanization attempt in June.
The dog was discovered by a citizen in the Beehive Reservoir area near Mission Ridge on June 5 and was taken to the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society (WVHS) for treatment.
The following day, the dog’s owner came forward and told his employer that he was the one who shot the dog, Louie, in an attempt to euthanize him. The man is an employee of the Chelan County Regional Justice Center.
The dog received extensive treatment at Cascade Veterinarian. X-rays showed three .40 caliber bullets in his skull. The bullets were removed and Louie is now living in medical foster care.
According to Louie’s owner, he believed the animal had become overly-aggressive after it attacked several members of his family during the few months it had been in his home.
The investigation, handled by Wenatchee police, was forwarded to the Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office, which appointed Okanogan County Prosecuting Attorney Arian Noma as special prosecutor to review the case for criminal charges.
“This office does not recommend the filing of criminal charges and will not file criminal charges,” Noma wrote in his review of the case. “The facts of this case do not support probable cause to find that (the dog’s owner) committed animal cruelty in the first or second degree. Although archaic to some, it is still common to euthanize pets and livestock even by firearm.”
Dawn Davies, executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, stated concerns relating to Noma’s statements.
“This conclusion sends a very dangerous message,” Davies stated. “The outcry from the public reassures me that we live in a more humane society where shooting a pet is not common and more importantly, it is not acceptable nor is it necessary. This gruesome act did not need to happen. I can’t imagine shooting a dog in the head three times, not checking for a heartbeat, leaving it suffering on the side of the road, while I went to get a shovel, then coming back to find it gone.”
Medical costs for Louie totaled nearly $5,000, which the community helped fund through donations.
“That is a lot of money for something that could have been avoided if the owner had simply reached out to Wenatchee Valley Humane Society and asked for help,” Davies added.