Chesterton Tribune



DNR warns hunters not to shoot dogs during deer season

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Last year in Union County, multiple complaints were made about pet dogs which were shot or went missing during deer season, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said.

Indiana Conservation Officers are reminding residents that shooting or killing a dog is a serious crime. Indiana Code 35-46-3-12 specifies that maiming or killing a dog is a Class D felony punishable by a term of six months to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Even if a dog wanders onto someone’s private property while they are hunting, it is still a crime to shoot the dog.

Some frequently asked questions:

* What if I thought it was a coyote? Game identification is a very important part of hunting. No ethical hunter will take a shot at something he hasn’t identified with certainty. If you are having trouble figuring out the difference between a coyote and a domesticated dog, you should take a break and study your wildlife ID some more.

* Does it matter if it gets shot with an arrow? Under the law there is no distinction between shooting a dog with a firearm or archery equipment.

* Isn’t there some kind of exemption to the law? I thought if it came on my land I could shoot it? The exemptions in the law relate to protecting people from injury and protecting property from substantial damage, not because a dog may interfere with a hunt.

* I spend a lot of time getting ready for the big hunt. Aren’t dog owners required to keep their dogs on a leash? If they violate that law, don’t I have a right to shoot the dog? Someone’s violating one law does not automatically give you the right to violate another law. In addition, according to IC 15-20-1-4, a nonaggressive dog that wanders onto agricultural or forested land does not commit any violation.

“Dog owners are encouraged to be courteous this time of year and make sure they don’t allow their pets to roam and disrupt hunters,” the DNR said. “Shooting a dog is not only illegal, but it greatly tarnishes the image and respect of hunters everywhere. Because of this, in Union County some prime hunting ground has already been closed to current and future hunters. All hunters are reminded that not only is it important to follow the law, but continue to promote the image of the ethical hunter. Our heritage and livelihood depend on it.”



Posted 10/1/2013