January 17, 2013 at 9:59pm
(COFFEEVILLE, Ala.) - The brutal killing of three hunting dogs has rocked the small-town hunting community of Coffeeville.
The dogs were allegedly killed intentionally by out-of-town deer hunters when the dogs crossed onto private hunting grounds they had leased.
Local 15 spoke to the dogs' owners who are local hunters in Coffeeville, and said they were hunting on Saturday on their friend's property which borders the private hunting grounds.
'We had tracking collars on the dogs and the GPS system was leading us straight to our dogs,' Chris Henderson said.
The GPS system showed the dogs were turning back and heading towards the owners, but when Henderson and his friends got within 400 yards of the dogs they heard a series of gunshots ring out.
'The dogs stopped moving on the GPS and it was just sad, man,'
Henderson said, 'We knew what happened, but we didn't want to believe it.'
Henderson said tensions had been heating up over property lines leading up to the shooting. Henderson firmly believes the out-of-towners were upset the dogs were on their land and opened fire.
'There's no question what happened,' Henderson said, 'It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out.'
Henderson said it was a group of six deer hunters from Mobile and Louisiana on the private hunting grounds. Henderson and his friends blocked in the hunters with their trucks and waited for law enforcement to arrive.
'The deputy came out but he didn't do nothin',' Henderson said, 'He let them go. He said there was nothing he could do about it.'
Henderson claims the Clarke County Sheriff's Deputy only did a cursory inspection of the suspected dog killers' guns, determined there was not enough evidence, and let them go.
When Henderson was allowed on the private property, he said he found his dogs shot and stacked in a pile.
'It was like they killed a member of my family,' Henderson said, 'My little sister can't stop crying. In the morning we still put out dog food, but there's no dogs. We hear dogs barking at night, but there's no dogs. They're gone and we still can't believe it.'
After hearing their story, the Alabama Dog Hunters Association stepped in to try and help bring justice.
'This has been going on and something needs to be done,' Susan Morrow of the Mobile Chapter said.
Morrow said this isn't the first incident of hunting dogs being shot, and there have been reports of upset hunters in Mobile County poisoning dogs that wander onto their property.
'The people will [after killing a hunting dog] take collars and hang them on their fence,' Morrow said. 'The game warden says he can't do anything about it.'
The association is now offering a $1,000 reward for the conviction of hunter or hunters responsible for killing the three dogs.
Local 15 spoke to the game warden whose district oversees Coffeeville.
The warden said it's illegal in Alabama to shoot any dog, regardless of whether it's trespassing on your property. The hunter or hunters who shot the three dogs would face animal cruelty charges, but it's up to the Clarke County Sheriff's Department to investigate.