BLACKFOOT — Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney Cleve Colson announced Thursday that after careful consideration of the facts that led to the death of a hunting dog in Bingham County, there is no current law in Idaho that would make the events leading up to the dog's death a crime.
The hunting dog was named Gunner.
According to reports, a hunting dog was shot and killed on Dec. 8, 2013, in the Springfield area in Bingham County.
Colson said, "In Idaho, we have a cruelty to animals law (Idaho Code §25-3504), that makes it a crime to maliciously kill an animal."
The mere death of an animal at the hand of a human is not criminal unless it is done in malicious and intentional manner.
"In this case," Colson said, "We do not have evidence that would indicate that this animal was killed in a malicious and intentional manner—the dog was running through tall, thick sagebrush and wearing a brown camouflage vest—he was mistaken for a coyote."
Some of the sagebrush in the area is four to five feet tall, Colson said. The area also has depths and swells.
The shooter did not see the people [in the hunting party], said Colson.
The Bingham County Prosecutor's office has requested that the shooter's hunting license be revoked for two years for improper handling of a weapon. The request was made to the Idaho Fish & Game. The shooter has also agreed to the revocation of his hunting license for two years.
"This is a very unfortunate case of mistaken identity and improper handling of a weapon while hunting," said Colson. "The Bingham County Prosecutor's office does not excuse the shooter's irresponsibility and carelessness in identifying his target."
"The Bingham County Prosecutor's office expresses our deepest sympathies to the family for the loss of their dog," said Colson.