MAGALLOWAY PLANTATION, Maine — The Maine Warden Service has charged a Dixfield man with shooting a domestic animal after he reportedly shot and killed a dog that was out in the woods with its owner.
Christopher J. Salatino, who was hunting deer in this Oxford County community, told investigators from the Maine Warden Service that he thought the German shepherd was a coyote, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokeswoman Edie Smith said Monday.
The dog was accompanied by its owner, Cindy Williams, who is a forester from Errol, N.H., Smith said.
Smith said the dog had a hunter orange ribbon around its neck when the incident occurred on Nov. 2. She said the hunter “reported the incident himself when he realized that he had shot the dog.”
This is the second time in less than a week that the warden service reported charging a hunter with shooting a domestic animal.
On Thursday, Smith reported that Seth White, 53, of Orrington was charged after he shot a dog that was running loose in the woods in Orrington. White also said he thought the German shepherd was a coyote.
“Unfortunately this is another case of a hunter not practicing ‘100 percent identification’ before shooting a target,” Smith said.
“The Maine Warden Service takes these cases very seriously and this investigation proved that Mr. Salatino should be charged with violating the law. The summons has been delivered and as with hunting incidents such as these, after a full investigation, the hunter is charged and if found guilty, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” she said.
The summons was filed at Oxford County District Court in Rumford. The investigation is led by Warden Brock Clukey with assistance from Warden Norman Lewis.
Despite the fact that two dogs were shot in hunting-related incidents on the same day last week, Smith said such occurrences are rare.
“These are very unfortunate incidents but they don’t happen very often,” she said, adding that Maine has an estimated 200,000 licensed hunters and that most of them do practice 100 percent identification.
“It is still safe to hunt in Maine,” Smith said.
The penalty for shooting a domestic animal in Maine includes a minimum mandatory five-year hunting license revocation, according to the state’s hunting and trapping rules.
BDN writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.