Deer season, not dog season



Lyle, our 2-1/2 year old black Lab, was shot and killed by a deer hunter on our farm the second day of gun season, Dec. 2, between 5-5:10 p.m. when all hunting should have ceased because it was after sunset.

Lyle’s friendly and inquisitive nature made him a much loved member of our family. He and the two other farm dogs accompanied me at 4:45 in the afternoon to the field, as they often do, while I cleaned up brush. A gun shot was heard nearby shortly after 5 p.m. and one of the other dogs came running back with his tail between his legs.

I was concerned by his behavior and was even more concerned when Lyle didn’t return with him. Lyle was almost always with a family member since he lived with us in the house, and he never wandered out of the immediate neighborhood.

We searched for him Tuesday night and again on Wednesday to no avail. We placed ads in the local papers, posted fliers, called people who lived near our farm, contacted UPS and the U.S. Postal service and asked them to keep an eye out for him. We were hopeful he would somehow return to us, especially since he had his name and our phone number on his collar. We received a few calls, but it was never him.

Unfortunately, on Dec. 6, we received the dreaded call that a dog matching his description was seen in a ditch on Mountz Road near Rochester Road, nearly 5 miles from home. Our son Kevin retrieved Lyle and buried him. Lyle was frozen solid and Kevin assumed that he was hit by a car, although we wondered why he was so far from home.

I was out of town and when I returned, I decided to rebury Lyle next to a favorite horse. At this time , we discovered that he had been shot.

I’m a veterinarian, so when I examined the wound, it was obvious that it done at close range and was a “kill shot” with the dog looking at the shooter. Knowing Lyle, he was probably giving him an enthusiastic greeting as he did with everyone he met.

We think the shooter realized his grievous error in judgment and decided to remove the evidence. The hunter probably wasn’t alone, as Lyle weighed 70 pounds.

Hunters are required to carry a landowner’s written permission to hunt on private property. These hunters were on our property without permission and the adjoining property is posted. The only people who have permission to hunt on our property are our immediate neighbors and we know that they were not responsible. Trespassing is subject to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

A $2,500 reward is being offered by The Ohio Farm Bureau for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for “the malicious injury of property”, our beloved dog. If you have any information, contact Deputy McGee at 330-424-7255.

Dave Smith
Hanoverton, Ohio

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  1. wow. I don’t know what i would do if something like that happened to me.I’m sorry for your loss. I hope you find the guys who did this. And if not, I hope they turn themselves in out of guilt.


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