Family dog killed near Eagle Co. line |

Family dog killed near Eagle Co. line

John Colson
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

MISSOURI HEIGHTS, Colorado ” An Italian mastiff was shot and killed in the Missouri Heights neighborhood, apparently on New Year’s Eve and within 200 yards of its home, the owner said.

Lisa Hatem, who has lived with her family in the Panorama Ranch area for two years, said her dog was on federal land at the time it was shot. She believes the shooter acted in an “unethical and unacceptable” way, she said.

The mastiff, named Cain, was three years old, gray and large enough that Hatem called him “my baby elephant.” He disappeared from the family home on Panorama Drive on New Year’s Eve and did not return by his customary 9 p.m., Hatem said on Wednesday.

The next day, she said, the family and some friends searched for hours without results, but ultimately she tracked Cain to the place where he had been shot and found him “with a bullet in his heart, frozen solid.”

She called the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, but they “didn’t want to be real helpful,” Hatem said, because Cain was on public land held by the Bureau of Land Management and not on a leash.

“Whoever it was that killed our dog, shot their gun in the direction of our home just 200 yards from our son’s bedroom window. How Careless!!!” Hatem wrote in a letter to the Aspen Times. “This person killed a member of our family just to get a thrill of shooting and killing something on New Year’s Eve.”

Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said Wednesday that there is little her agency can do because no one witnessed the shooting or the dog’s behavior.

And, she noted, state law says that “if they are off a leash [and harassing wildlife in some way] anybody can put that animal down.”

Hatem said hunters are a common sight in her neighborhood, she wrote in the letter, where they “park their pick-up trucks on Panorama Drive where the BLM land is and try to shoot and kill an elk basically from their truck, even though this Public Land is within view of several homes.”

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