Hunter shoots, kills family pet in Rice County

NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- A hunter in Rice County shot and killed a family pet over the weekend. The question now is, will he get charged? The answer is not so black and white.

Diesel was a six-year-old black lab. He and his buddy Moosie were let outside their home in Northfield Saturday morning. The usual early morning bathroom ritual. Moosie, however, was the only one to come back.

"We immediately started looking for the dog and calling and calling neighbors, internet, we made fliers that night to put on mailboxes," says Kerry Hanson, Diesel's owner.

They had no luck finding their beloved pet. It wasn't until Sunday night that a neighbor came over to break the bad news. A hunter had been hunting on his land and shot Diesel and left him there.

"I asked the landowner, I says, 'Was he chasing the deer?' he says 'No, he was just coming down the trail and this man who was in the deer stand shot the dog,'" says Jim Hullett, Diesel's owner.

In Minnesota you can legally shoot a dog if it's chasing big game, but only between January 1 and July 14, and only if the discharge of firearms is allowed. The law is somewhat confusing but the hunter admitted to killing the dog, saying he thought it was a stray.

"We've never had this happen before where an animal's been shot when it's not chasing wildlife, so it's new to us and we've forwarded the reports to the county attorney's office for their review to see if they can find any charges that are applicable," says Rice County Sheriff, Troy Dunn.

Diesel's family is hoping the hunter will face animal cruelty charges and even more, they hope to get the law changed to be more clear.

"I don't want another dog to die this way."


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