Dakota, Minnesota (WXOW) ------ It's a cautionary tale for dog owners but it's also a warning for the segment of the public who believes shooting dogs is sometimes justified. This case began on October 31st when a Winona County woman's dog went missing. 4 weeks later she learned the tragic truth.
Maggie McDonald says her dog Tank was her best friend. "We had just moved from the city a week before and I'm sure he thought that this was the best thing ever."
Tank, a 9-year-old rescue dog was found on a farm in the Dakota area by a neighbor who lives less than a mile from Maggie. His wife saw Tank's missing dog flyer on Facebook. No one knows who shot Maggie's dog but DNR Conservation Officer Scott Fritz says one thing is for sure. "It appears it was a slug that killed him; that a shotgun was used but it's not fair to say for sure it was a hunter that did it."
Fritz says hunters often complain about dogs chasing deer and interfering with the hunt. "People put a lot of effort into getting a deer. maybe you're only out there one or 2 days and you're out there in your deer stand then here comes a deer and then here comes a dog behind it." But it wasn't gun deer hunt season.
Maggie says accidents happen. "I get that. And if it was for a reason, then why not call me and say hey this is why it happened and tell me why."
There are many unanswered questions about this situation. Why was Tank thrown in a hole and covered up? And why was his collar removed?
You might be surprised to learn that certain times of year it's legal for a hunter to shoot a dog. Game Wardens on the other hand can do it whenever they see fit, but they usually track down the owner first. Tank was shot in October, when it's illegal to shoot a dog in Minnesota.
This cautionary tale is meant to teach a lesson to dog owners too. If a dogs chases or kills a deer it's a 100 dollar fine for their owner and 500 dollars for every incident thereafter.
Maggie says she wish she could do it all over again. "I know that I should have my dog on a leash all they would have had to do was call me and I would have come pick him up."
Maggie knows she may never find out who killed Tank but telling his story is the best way for her to honor him. "He never met someone he didn't love. He was just a big goofy dog. He would have just as soon ran up to the person and licked the person that shot him."
Maggie is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Tank's killer.
If you have information call the Winona County Sheriff's Department at 507-457-6368.
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