In a disturbing incident that has sent shockwaves across the nation, the cold-blooded killing of three hunting dogs in King and Queen County, Virginia, has ignited a wave of outrage. Robbie Shackleford, a board member of the Newtown Sportsman Association, where the dogs were affiliated, has labeled the act as “gruesome” and “cold-blooded,” shedding light on the horrific details of the incident.
The tragic event unfolded on Friday, December 29, when Shackleford reported that the hounds were ruthlessly shot in broad daylight. The witness accounts of the removal of the dogs are described as extremely graphic, prompting Shackleford to report the incident to authorities immediately. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) confirmed on December 31 that they have initiated an investigation into the heinous act.
While the DWR has not disclosed the specifics of how and when the dogs were killed, Shackleford revealed that they were out with their owners on that fateful day, accompanied by one other dog. The shooting occurred on a vast tract of land with no livestock, leading Shackleford to assert that the killings were intentional.
“You just don’t shoot dogs. And I feel for the boys who lost their dogs. It was a horrific act. An act of animal cruelty. I’d even say it was a hate crime toward dog hunting,” expressed Shackleford, a seasoned hunter of 45 years. The callousness of the act has amplified the sorrow felt by the hunting community and beyond.
The Newtown Sportsman Association, managing approximately 15,000 acres and boasting around 60 dogs in its club, has long been a positive force in the community. Shackleford emphasized their philanthropic contributions, including donations to the local fire department, provision of venison to landowners and community members, and gifts to landowners who permit hunting on their property.
Shackleford’s emotional connection to the hunting dogs underscores a broader sentiment within the hunting community, where these loyal companions often become integral parts of the hunters’ lives. “I would actually say that some of these dogs mean more to us than people do,” he expressed, highlighting the deep bond between hunters and their canine partners.
Despite potential property ownership issues related to the incident, the Code of Virginia allows hunters to retrieve dogs even if property access has been denied by the owner. Shackleford emphasized the significance of this law, stating that without it, the circumstances surrounding the incident might not have come to light. All the dogs, according to him, are equipped with GPS tracking and contact information, a measure aimed at managing hunts and ensuring the proper retrieval of every hound.
As news of this appalling act spreads, a collective sense of indignation is building across the nation. The killing of these hunting dogs has transcended regional boundaries, resonating with a broader audience that values the bond between humans and animals. Calls for justice are echoing, demanding accountability for those responsible for this senseless act of cruelty. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the need for strengthened animal protection measures and a united stance against any form of violence towards animals, regardless of the context.