At 2 pm, on this gorgeous sunny Saturday, J went for his customary hike with our dogs. We hike and/or ride our horses with our dogs 4-5 times per week on the trails near our house. He parked at his usual place at the trailhead on Cedar Mountain Road, and was hiking down a marked foot trail that leads to the 717 system. Two men, one from Castle Rock, and one from Colorado Springs, were out shooting coyotes for fun. They were utilizing some type of "coyote calling" device to attract coyotes, and this got R's attention and she went towards the noise. She was shot in the chest. She is a tall 75 lb malamute/husky, wearing a bright orange reflective collar with tags.
J wrapped R in his sweatshirt to stem the bleeding, and immediately called me. Fortunately I was at home, and within minutes I was there and I was able to get R over to Teller Park Vet and into surgery. With the assistance of Dr. X, we spent two hours working on her, and despite a horrific wound and extensive blood loss, I believe she will survive, although it remains to be seen if she will be able to return to her previous level of fitness and continue to climb 14er's with J.
J called the Teller County Sheriff's department and the Division of Wildlife. Apparently, as long as the "hunters" "believed" that they were shooting a coyote, they are within their rights to shoot and/or kill dogs, hiking alongside their owners, with absolute impunity.
This is OUTRAGEOUS. I am incensed and livid that in a relatively densely populated area like Divide, on a marked trail, adjacent to Teller County's largest subdivision of Indian Creek Estates, recreational shooters can shoot and kill your dog while you are hiking with it. They did not shoot her because she was unattended, at large, or chasing wildlife or livestock, or threatening anyone - in fact, she is quite shy and would never approach a stranger. They shot her because they were trigger-happy and did not have a clear enough view to distinguish a 75 lb collared malamute mix, hiking with a man and 3 other dogs, from a coyote.
On the USDA Forest Service's own website, Pike National Forest is described as "... a busy urban national forest noted for the majority of fourteen thousand foot peaks in Colorado ..." We do not live in an area where you would not expect to see other hikers, horseriders and ATV'ers and dog walkers!