YORK, Maine — A local hunter has been charged in the fatal shooting of a family dog in this southern Maine community.
Thirty-nine-year-old Gregory Brown, who has been charged with shooting a domestic animal, said he mistook the dog for a coyote.
Matthew and Heather Henriksen of York said their 5-year-old mixed-breed dog bled to death on Dec. 27 after a bullet from a .22-caliber rifle severed an artery on its back leg. They said they were walking with the dog on a trail behind their home when the dog ran ahead and was shot.
The Portsmouth Herald reports that Brown told wardens he was hunting red squirrel in a wooded area behind the Henriksens’ home when he mistook the dog for a coyote. It’s legal to hunt red squirrels and coyotes year-round.
The Maine Warden Service says Brown faces criminal charges that carry a fine.
This incident was at least the fourth time a dog has been shot by a hunter this year.
Steven Barrows, 50, of Westbrook was issued a summons in November on a charge of shooting a domesticated animal after reportedly shooting a dog on the last day of deer season.
Barrows, who had been hunting in Standish, also told authorities he thought the dog was a coyote. Game wardens said the the Siberian husky had slipped out of its harness and ran into woods near its home.
Also in November, the Maine Warden Service 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 in Magalloway Plantation. Christopher J. Salatino was hunting deer in the Oxford County community.
The dog was accompanied by its owner, Cindy Williams, who is a forester from Errol, N.H., a warden service spokesman said at the time. The dog reportedly had a hunter orange ribbon around its neck when the incident occurred on Nov. 2.
Salatino told investigators from the Maine Warden Service that he thought the German shepherd was a coyote.
And another man, from Orrington, also was charged in November with shooting a domestic animal.
The dog was running loose in the woods when it was shot by Seth White, 53, according to DIF&W spokeswoman Edie Smith. White also said he thought the dog was a coyote.
White had been hunting in an area of Orrington with the permission of the landowner.
The dog’s body was found in a wooded area late Wednesday afternoon by a farmer who was walking his own dog.
The BDN contributed to this report.