BILLINGS — A Martin City woman was cited for animal cruelty after she shot and skinned a husky, saying she thought it was a wolf pup.
The incident isn’t uncommon, as Layne Spence recalls how a hunter shot and killed his malamute while he was cross-country skiing near Missoula, nine years ago.
Nearly a decade ago, Spence took his three dogs cross-country skiing with him in the woods west of Lolo, south of Missoula.
“My dogs were just running around. They had lights on, they had orange on,” Spence said on Sunday.
The Clinton resident will never forget what happened next.
“I hear the tat, tat, and I saw his back leg just get blown off,” said Spence.
Spence’s two-year-old malamute, Little Dave, had been shot by a hunter. At first, the EMS and fireman thought he could save his pup.
“I’m waving my arms at the guy and stuff like that. He just kept shooting. He shot my dog like six times,” Spence said.
The hunter approached Spence and told him that he thought Little Dave had been a wolf.
“Then I just carried him out, out two miles, on my shoulder,” said Spence.
Spence called the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and an investigation ensued. He ended up taking the hunter to civil court.
“I won I guess. Well, I didn’t win. I think I ended up getting $650 for a dog that’s worth $1,500, that’s not even counting. That’s nothing,” Spence said.
The recent incident regarding the Martin City woman has brought back painful memories for the fur father of four.
“If you’re hunting like that, you need to know what you’re shooting at. A husky and a malamute is not a wolf,” said Spence.
Though the Martin City woman has been cited for animal cruelty, Spence believes more needs to be done.
“That person that shot and skinned that dog, they need to have their hunting rights taken away, and their guns,” Spence said.
He hopes that sharing his story will prevent other mistakes like this from happening again.
“There has to be some type of penalty for these people,” said Spence.