Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The other side of the Trap Road dog-killing story

by Susan Brant
| February 6, 2021 12:00 AM

I am writing this letter to let people hear the other side to the dog killing story on Trap Road (Neighbor shoots dogs while defending his cattle, Daily Inter Lake, Feb. 3).

Yes, my husband shot and killed their dog around 12:30 p.m. I was standing near the patio windows facing east. Our pasture land of 5 acres is between our house and the neighbor. I saw the two dogs running circles around one of our cows by their scratching post and then sliding under our gate and going after several free ranging chickens and on into the open coop door.

I could tell that there would be a few dead chickens if we did not respond quickly. I yelled for my husband that dogs were trying to grab chickens. He grabbed his gun while I opened the door to yell at the dogs.

He shot off our second story deck five rounds and killed one dog and the other ran to its house. We went back into our house, he put his rifle away an within 10 minutes called the Sheriff’s Office to report the killing.

We allowed the neighbor to pick up the dog and bring it home. We never went back outside until officers came over.

I understand the feeling of loss as we have lived rural with animals all our lives. We are retired simple living folks that raise all our own meat, eggs and milk - a brown Swiss. We have big gardens and love striving to be self-sufficient on our land.

In my opinion, the neighbor has allowed her dogs to become a neighborhood nuisance. Animal control has been called I believe several times in the last five years, and not just by us.

Anyone who’s ever taken a walk or road a bike down Trap Road knows to watch out for the dogs that will bark and run out on the road to intimidate you. The neighbor has seen and heard me hollering for them to go home several times when they have been on our property. They are juvenile delinquent dogs, free to roam all day. A year ago a dog fenced yard was put in. I’m not sure why. Rarely have I ever seen dogs in it.

Lots of nasty threats have happened to use since the incident. One lady drove up and came through the fenced gated yard to know on our door to let us know we will “regret this.”

Because the neighbor chose to escalate her cause on Facebook it has become an ugly, slanderous, one-sided story to instill hate and revenge on us.

We don’t go on Facebook, but did read it the next day when friends were warning us how ugly it has become with threats.

I will never open up Facebook again and this letter’s intention is not to point fingers or stir up trouble.

I just want our normal life back without wondering who might drive up or call us to shout “dog killer” at us. We have gotten well over 30 hang-up calls in two days.

The neighbor’s story also throws into the mix that we killed her old dog at 4 a.m. the same day and someone found it dead along the road. We know nothing and have no involvement in the old dog’s death.

Maybe the neighbor should hold ownership to being an irresponsible dog owner.

I know people over 50 read newspapers mostly, so anyone wanting to share this letter on Facebook has my permission, otherwise the mob will grow and never see that we’re just simple farmers trying to protect what is ours with the First and Second amendments.

I suggest get off Facebook (Facebook) and live a real life. As for us, we can’t wait to see two calves born next month running through our pasture and planting seeds for my gardens.

Thanks for listening. Now you know the rest of the story.

—Susan Brant, Columbia Falls


Montana Code Annotated 81-7-401 states: A dog, whether licensed or not, that, while off the premises owned or under control of its owner and on property owned, leased, or controlled by the livestock owner, harasses, kills, wounds, or injures livestock not belonging to the owner of the dog is considered a public nuisance and:

(a) may be killed immediately by the owner of the livestock or an agent or employee of the owner.