A Redmond family is raising awareness about no-shooting zones around the Cline Buttes Recreation Area after their dog was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve.
Central Oregon Daily News visited the scene of the shooting Wednesday with the pet owner to find out what’s happening.
“When I heard the gunshot, I screamed, ‘I hope you didn’t just kill my dog.’”
Stephen Richardson was hiking with his two huskies, Maverick and Mateo, on the Cline Buttes New Year’s Eve morning when Mateo was shot four times and killed.
“I want to believe that he used scent to lure in coyotes and it was just an accident, but I struggle with that.”
Richardson says he didn’t get a look at the shooter who reportedly ran from the scene, got in a vehicle and sped away.
Richardson found shell casings and other evidence that he gave to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office for investigation.
“I find it hard to believe somebody mistook a 65-pound red Siberian husky for a 35- to 40-pound coyote at 10 yards,” he said.
The Richardsons set up a Go Fund Me account to help them pay for cremating their beloved dog.
Donations already exceed cremation costs and the family will offer the remaining funds as a reward.
“If there is any information that leads to some answers, the remaining amount from that Go Fund Me will go toward that reward,” Richardson said. “If we never get any information and don’t find this guy, the remaining money will go to setting up a memorial out here and spoiling his brother, who is heartbroken.”
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office confirms an investigation is underway but offered no additional information.
The Bureau of Land Management says no-shooting zones around Cline Buttes are 15 years old and may need to be adjusted to accommodate increased recreational use and development in the area.
Richardson said he is not going to stop hiking on the Cline Buttes.
“This is my dogs’ favorite spot. They love it up here. I would like to have a memorial here to make people aware every time they walk through here that a poor dog lost his life for no reason.”
Other people have buried their pets out on the BLM lands near Cline Buttes.
The Richardson family intends to erect a memorial where their dog was shot.