Owner speaks out about hunting dog being shot and killed
A southeast Iowa man is charged with shooting and killing a dog.
Alan Messerschmitt, 52, of Hedrick allegedly fired a rifle at a hunting dog. KTVO sat down with the owner of that dog to discuss last week's incident.
"He's always just told us to catch our dogs and get out of there, so that's exactly what we were doing when this happened,” said the dog’s owner, Travis Jay.
Travis Jay was out coyote hunting last Wednesday when his 2-year-old walker fox hound was shot and killed.
Jay said they were hunting near property owned by Alan Messerschmitt when the dogs were about to enter his land.
That's when the hunters began calling their dogs back to them, and almost all of them were caught before going on Messerschmitt's property. And then Jay heard a shot.
"So I started into the timber and I heard another shot that was very close to me and when I looked up, he's sitting 30 yards in front of me looking straight at me with a gun pointed in my direction."
Jay said Messerschmitt told him that was a warning shot for trespassing.
But according to an Iowa DNR conservation officer, they weren't trespassing.
"It's not illegal if a hunting dog would cast or be released on a property that someone has permission to be on and it stays onto other private property that acted itself, it is not trespass,” said Iowa DNR conservation officer, Brian Smith.
There is a code however that gives permission to kill a tagged dog.
"It shall be lawful for any person to kill a dog, wearing a collar with a rabies vaccination tag attached, when the dog is caught in the act of chasing, maiming or killing any domestic animal or fowl, ow when such a dog is attacking or attempting to bite a person,” said Smith.
Jay says this incident wasn't their first time they've had trouble with Messerschmitt.
"There was a guy sitting down the road from his house ad he went down with his four-wheeler with a loaded rifle on it and said he was going in there to get a dog."
Jay says coyote hunting is one of his favorite hobbies and that farmers around Messerschmitt's land want the coyotes gone.
"They want us out there doing what we're doing because they know if we don't there's nothing, a coyote doesn't have a natural predator, other than a human being. So there's just no way of getting rid of them without us guys and our dogs."
He was able to find his dog because of his Garmin that he uses to track her during hunts, but says if other dogs were shot they might not be so lucky.
"It didn't necessarily have to be my hound. It could've been you're Labrador or poodle or it could've been anybody’s dog and the only reason this guy got caught is because of that tracking device on that dog,” said Travis Jay.
Messerschmitt was arrested and released.
He was charged with Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, a Class D Felony, and Reckless Use of a Firearm.
He has pleaded not guilty.
We left a message with his attorney Steve Gardner and are waiting for a comment.