RUPERT— A Minidoka County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a Rupert family’s pet on Aug. 15.
Marisol Betancourt said she found out her year-old male American bulldog Kodak had been shot by an officer by reading about it on a Facebook post.
“Our 4-year-old keeps asking for him and I now have to say he’s not coming back,” Betancourt said.
Betancourt had posted Kodak as missing a week and a half ago on social media and she called the animal control shelter looking for him several times.
Jonathan Smith, of Murtaugh, was at his grandparents’ home at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 when he saw Kodak on the canal that runs behind the Minidoka County Fairgrounds.
“I saw him lying in the ditch all hunkered down,” Smith said. “He lifted his head up but he was not aggressive or anything. The dog wanted and needed help. There was no reason to shoot him.”
Smith could see the animal “had a huge gash on his neck,” where the dog had been shot and he called the animal control shelter to come help, but the office was closed. The office voicemail message told him to call dispatch, which sent out a deputy.
Smith showed Deputy Brandon Fry where the dog was and the officer went to his patrol vehicle and made a phone call.
Minidoka County Sheriff Eric Snarr confirmed the sheriff’s office had dealt with the animal the previous week and an officer had shot the animal on Aug. 9 and then could not find it.
Fry told Smith that unless Smith was going to take care of the dog Fry was going “to finish what was started,” Smith said.
“I got really mad when he said that because, first off, you don’t shoot an animal and leave it for dead,” Smith said. “I told him this looks terrible on you and it breaks my heart.”
Fry fired 10 to 12 shots while the animal was either in the weeds next to the water or in the water, Smith said.
“I didn’t hear the dog screaming until the eighth shot and he was firing into the water,” Smith said. “He said the dog sank and there was nothing he could do.”
Smith said his grandfather, Theron Andersen, helped him drive down canal afterward looking for the animal’s body, but they couldn’t find it.
“I grew up hunting and I was around animals on the farm that we had to put down. But, what he did was cruel and inhumane,” Smith said.
Snarr said the sheriff’s office had dealt with calls about the animal on Aug. 8 and 9 and he confirmed that Fry shot and killed the dog on Aug. 15.
Snarr said both shootings are under investigation.
“We take this matter very seriously,” he said.
Snarr would not release the name of the officer involved in the Aug. 9 shooting incident.
A Minidoka County resident reported the dog on his property on Aug. 8 and 9, and the second day the animal started to behave aggressively, he said.
The dog was barking and would not let the officer approach, Snarr said.
Because staff from the Minidoka animal control shelter were unavailable, the officer requested assistance from Burley animal control, but no one was available to help.
The officer shot the dog and the dog ran off.
“We searched and looked for quite a while trying to find the dog,” Snarr said.
Snarr would not release further details about the Aug. 15 shooting.
Betancourt said Kodak had never behaved aggressively.
“He would get excited and jump up on you but he was just being playful,” she said.