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No investigation expected after malamute shot

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Nov 18 2013 08:52:19 AM MST
Updated On: Nov 18 2013 11:12:53 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Layne Spence of Missoula said he was skiing with his three dogs near Lee Creek Campground off of Highway 12 Sunday afternoon, when he heard a shot and saw his dog, Dave, fall down with an injured leg.  

“All of a sudden I hear a bang and I look down at my dog and his leg is shattered,” says Spence.  “I’m yelling 'No, no, no' and this guy who I can see is shooting my dog.”

Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson Vivaca Crowser says the case was passed to FWP after the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office decided not to launch an investigation.

FWP had the opportunity to start an investigation but Crower says without intent they can’t pursue a criminal investigation.   

Spence tells NBC Montana he screamed at the hunter to stop shooting and asked what he was doing. He says the man responded that he thought the dog was a wolf.

“My dog was within 20 yards and I’m amazed because the guy can see me and he's shooting at my dog and I could have been killed,” he says.  

Spence tells us each of his dogs was wearing a collar with tags and a light around their necks.

“I know its hunting season so I put lights on their necks, they're on their collars and they're really bright,” he says.  “I just yelled and he -- I think he knew that he did something wrong because within five minutes I took off my cross country skis, picked up my dog, threw him over my shoulder and carried him out and the guy was already gone.”

Spence says he’s heartbroken over the loss of his pet who he says was like his child.

Crowser tells us the shooter was allowed to have a gun in the area, because the incident happened on Forest Service land.  She says it’s obviously an emotional situation for everyone.

“It’s an awful scenario where there is nothing -- criminal investigation-wise -- to purse,” she says.