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Family dog killed by bow hunter

Bria Swanson says her family wants the hunter accused of shooting their dog Reba to be held accountable for his actions.

NEW GERMANY, Minn. — From chickens to ducks, the Swanson hobby farm in New Germany has a lot that needs protecting.

"We have a terrible predator problem – predators being coyotes, racoons and mink and also aerial predators," Bria Swanson said. "We have a lot of hawks and eagles that will come down."

Their best defense against those predators had been Reba the great Pyrenees. Reba was a family pet that Swanson's parents bought specifically to protect but also work as a livestock guardian dog.

"Reba's job was just to really be present," Swanson said. "If you look at her GPS it was amazing, just constant circles around the property."

Bria Swanson says that all changed for her parents when last Tuesday when Reba crossed over briefly to the neighboring property chasing a predator.

There, the 1.5 year-old-dog was shot and killed by a bow hunter.

"My mom – that was her baby," Swanson said. "She texted when it happened last week with Reba, she texted me, and she just – her exact text was 'He killed my baby.'"

Just exactly why still remains unclear. Swanson says the hunter does not own the property he was using to hunt and has yet to speak with DNR investigators. This is despite the fact that there was a witness – another bow hunter, who saw it happen.

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"He said he had to because she was chasing deer, he felt so bad that he just left," Swanson said. "The reason he didn't meet with the DNR or the sheriff was that he felt so bad after he shot her that he left, which I don't know how he left because his truck was still there."

Both Carver County officials and DNR officials say no charges have been filed and that the investigation is ongoing.

Swanson says her family's heartbreak has been palpable because Reba's puppyhood was what got her mother through tough times.

"After my brother passed away, she was a puppy and we had already had her. She was absolutely an integral part of my mom having to get up every day and take care of her," Swanson explained. "Potty train and feed the puppy, be there and be present, so she had something she had to look forward to and also had her on her toes."

"I mean, I was angry, that something else could be taken from my parents and nothing else could be done?" Swanson said.

In terms of what she wanted to achieve by putting this all out on Facebook, Swanson said she just wants justice for Reba.

"We're not comfortable getting another or especially a livestock guardian dog until we know if they're safe," Swanson said. "That's really it."

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