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Sheriff investigating dead dogs found between Bear and Peterson creeks

For the Eagle | November 1, 2023 10:55 AM

Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino says his department is looking into a pair of dead dogs found on a trail between Bear Creek and Peterson Creek over the past year and a half.

According to locals who found the dogs, both appeared to have been nursing mothers of the same breed and both were found tied to trees with fatal gunshot wounds to the head.

The first incident occurred last year, while the latest deceased dog was found on the weekend of Oct. 21.

Sheriff Heino said the matter is under investigation and animal cruelty charges could be filed if the offender could be identified.

According to Montana state law, animal cruelty charges can be filed if a person, without justification, knowingly or negligently subjects an animal to mistreatment or neglect by overworking, beating, tormenting, torturing, injuring or killing the animal.

While the law does not prohibit a person humanely destroying an animal for just cause, a first-offense animal cruelty conviction carries a maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

In addition, Montana also prohibits the disposal of animal carcasses in any lake, river, creek, pond, reservoir, road, street, alley, lot, or field or within 1 mile of the residence of any person unless the dead animal or part of a dead animal is burned or buried at least 2 feet underground.

Anyone with information pertaining to the case can contact the Sheriff's Department at (406) 758-5610.