Dog shooting in Washoe Valley causes dispute

A dog shooting in Washoe Valley on Saturday has neighbors at odds over whether it was justified.

Karie Maxwell, an employee with the Carson City Sheriff's Department, said she was in her driveway loading her car for a trip when she heard a popping noise about 8:15 a.m.

Just as she heard another popping and a yelp, her 17-year-old daughter, Breanna, ran down the driveway toward the street screaming.

Maxwell said when she turned around she saw a black Labrador running toward her, and an employee of Kruse's Custom Meat holding a rifle as he and two other men walked back onto the business' property in the 3200 block of Eastlake Boulevard in Washoe Valley.

She said she knew immediately that the dog had been shot.

As Breanna screamed at the man for shooting the dog, Maxwell said, she dropped to her knees at the end of her driveway next to the dog, Bucket.

"I just collapsed where the dog was and I was trying to comfort him, and crying and screaming and trying to call 911," said Maxwell.

Bucket , a 3-year-old Labrador that belonged to Maxwell's neighbors, died from the two gunshot wounds to his torso.

Kruse's Custom Meat owner Tom Kruse said he's had problems in the past with Bucket getting loose and attacking chickens or rabbits to the rear of his property.

On Saturday morning, after employee Tom Benton caught the dog killing a chicken, Benton took aim and shot the dog, Kruse said.

"That animal has been in here numerous times and killed other animals and rabbits," said Kruse. "We have lost so many animals over the years (to dogs), but this is the first time in 30 years we've had to shoot a dog. We just had enough of this one particular animal killing our animals."

Kruse said he was not present when the shooting took place, but Benton was with two people at the time, former Carson City Sheriff Rod Banister and Banister's brother Ron.

"They saw what happened and gave their statements to police," Kruse said.

Maxwell said from what she could tell, Bucket was not on Kruse's property when Benton shot it.

She said Benton was unapologetic about the shooting, though as she sat on the road cradling the animal, Benton returned with a wheelbarrow to carry him away.

Maxwell refused to let him take the dog and waited for police to arrive, she said.

"I just don't want this to happen to any other dogs, or any other animals. This can't be OK. This was part of somebody's life and it was allowed to be taken," Maxwell said. "Shooting a dog should be a last resort. I think there should be other ways to deal with it other than shooting it."

An investigation into whether the butcher shop employee was justified in the shooting is underway, said Washoe County Sheriff's Deputy Brook Keast. He could be charged with animal cruelty or discharging a firearm in a populated area. Or he may not be charged at all.

"There could be any number of charges stemming from this, or their could be zero, we just have to wait until the investigation is complete," said Keast.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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