Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Family seeks answers in dog shooting

Reward offered in death of Ralph

Express Staff Writer

Ralph, a 4-year-old blonde Labrador, was shot and killed early this month in Carey. Courtesy photo

Hailey resident Blake Barrymore took his Labradors Augie and Ralph to his shop in Carey each workday for years. The dogs roamed the farmlands on the western outskirts of the town, but on Sept. 7, Ralph, a 4-year-old blonde Lab, didn't come back to the shop. A week later, Ralph was found dead, the victim of an apparent small-caliber gunshot wound.

Now Barrymore and his family and friends want to know who did it and why. The Barrymores have even raised more than $2,000 in cash and merchandise as a reward for information leading to the shooter.

"Why would someone do that?" Barrymore asked. "Why would someone shoot a beautiful Lab that's just friendly to everybody? I don't have any enemies. Everybody knows him. He was just a beautiful dog.

"It just killed my kids and devastated my family."

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office is investigating, but so far no one has come forward with information.

Barrymore is the owner of Northwest Door and Mill, located in what's called the "old cheese factory" just to the north of U.S. Highway 20 on the west side of Carey.

Augie is about 9 years old, a black Lab and the father of Ralph.

Barrymore said the dogs never caused any trouble, never bothered livestock and mostly just roamed within a few hundred yards of the shop, occasionally chasing a fox or coyote and often going swimming in a nearby canal.

"They're trained dogs," he said. "They're not stupid dogs that run off crazy. They're both really good dogs. There's just farmland behind the old cheese factory. There's no sheep, cows or horses back there. It's a really good neighborhood and we've never had any problems before."

Ralph was found about a half mile south near Durphee Road. Barrymore said his collar had been taken and it looked as if "someone had thrown him out of a truck."

He said he took Ralph's body to a veterinarian to try to determine the cause of death. There was a small hole in his chest and an X-ray showed bullet fragments, most likely from a .22-caliber gun.

"The person who did this needs to be punished," Barrymore said. "I'm hoping someone will come forward and say they know who did this. Ralph was a family member. It's a sad story and everybody needs to know about this."

Sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis said that whether a crime was committed depends on the circumstances of the shooting.

Idaho law provides that a dog can be legally killed if it is "worrying, wounding or killing any livestock or poultry" and the owner of the dog "can sustain no action for damages against any person so killing such dog."

Another section of the law makes cruelty to animals a misdemeanor. Cruelty is defined as "the intentional and malicious infliction of pain, physical suffering, injury or death upon an animal."

Terry Smith:

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