Was a Dog Found Tortured in Bozeman?

Animal abuse is often the first sign of serious disturbance among adolescent and adult killers. In 1997, Luke Woodham, in a suburb of Jackson, MI, stabbed his mother to death and then opened fire on his high school classmates with a hunting rifle, killing two girls and wounding seven other students. Investigators later found Woodham’s account of his torture and killing of his pet dog Sparkle, which the boy described as his “first kill.” Based on what we now know about criminal “profiling”, it is of great concern for our community to find out for sure. Animal abusers of this (presumed) caliber don’t stop at one animal.

A deceased dog was found up in the Trail Creek area by a woman visiting friends from out of town. It “appeared” to have been tortured. This poor dog, a pit bull with red with white markings, had several injuries and had a rope tied tight around his neck as if it could have been hung or strangled. Volunteers took him to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter. There, they scanned him for a chip and sadly he didn’t have one. A necropsy will be done to know more, and determine the cause of death.

KBZK reported Gallatin County Undersheriff Dan Springer saying they are looking for any information. “We really need the public’s help,” he said. “Anyone who recognizes this dog. Did anyone see anyone out there doing something?” I spoke with Sheriff Springer for any updates. He said,  “Right now we don’t know for sure if it was tortured. What we need to determine is if this was in fact done by human hands or not.” If you have information about the case, please call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office at (406) 582-2100.

When the story surfaced many community members were asking ‘How can someone do something like this to an animal?’ on the local Bozeman Lost Pet Facebook page. Local animal advocates are up in arms, ready to help to see justice for this animal & see the perpetrator caught and charged with felony animal abuse if the evidence tells us for sure that he was indeed “tortured”. A reward may be in the works soon for “information leading to an arrest” or conclusion to this case. We (the admins of BLP) are hearing more and more that animal abuse, dog flipping, pet-napping, pets taken from homes, from cars and from fenced backyards is on the rise nationally and we are seeing this locally as well, as the cases and pleas for help are reported to our page. So can it happen here? Yes of course. We are not immune.

So, was this dog “tortured”? It can’t be fully confirmed as of this writing but it is indeed possible as eye witnesses say “it appeared so”.

The Bozeman Lost Pet page had a report just last week that a dearly beloved cat was stolen in broad daylight from a woman’s car in the Macy’s parking lot. Last year a friendly dog who roamed the village of Gallatin Gateway went missing and was found along the side of the road with a bullet hole in his head. There was also the story in the news of the sweet Golden Retriever named Sadie who was stolen right in front of a dear old man’s home and business in Ennis. She was amazingly found in California when an anonymous tip was phoned in as someone saw the poster that had been circulating on Facebook for several months. We are seeing more and more stories like this on a regular basis. Why? We live in a different time. It’s not like it used to be where you can let your pet out to roam and feel assured he’s safe ,because after all, this is Bozeman, right? No. This isn’t because Bozeman is going to the dogs, it’s happening more everywhere.

What can you do to better ensure the safety of your pet? Here are a few tips. 
1- TAGS! For one thing, over 80% of the lost pets reported to us aren’t wearing I.D. tags when they have gone missing. This is the simplest and often quickest way to get your pet back when they’ve gone missing.

2- Keep an eye on them like you do your child! Leaving them tied up outside a business while you shop isn’t the safest thing to do anymore. (We have also had a report of a dog being taken from outside the Community Food Co-op. )

3- Get your animal “chipped”. Many misunderstand how “chips” work by thinking chipping is somehow a tracking device. It’s not. What it can do is identify you as the owner with your contact information.

4- Don’t leave pets in cars. If you must, make sure the car is locked.

5- Don’t leave them in the yard when you’re not home.

Practice common sense and remember “it ain’t the good ol’ days anymore” in regard to where our pets are concerned when it comes to their safety. Be aware and stay informed. Watch for updates and more information on this case and others on Bozeman Lost Pet Facebook page.    

Joy Lynn Baker, has been a Bozeman resident for almost 30 years & volunteer’s as administrator for the local Bozeman Lost Pet Facebook page. She is a local animal advocate & a new grandma to granddaughter, Lorelei.