An outing for a Fentress County family turned tragic Saturday as five hunting dogs were shot and killed and three individuals escaped injury after they were fired upon.
Greg Smith told 105.7 News the trip included himself, a juvenile, his soon to be stepson and soon to be stepson’s girlfriend. They were on land they had commissioned off of Highway 52 in the west part of Fentress County when the dogs entered into a nearby property.
That is when the problem started. Smith stayed behind and the other three went after them to bring them back. They were encountered by a male subject in his 20’s with a firearm who heard the barking. The suspect reportedly yelled at the three to come to him and asked why they were there.
That is when multiple shots were allegedly fired by the suspect striking the ground around the three. They took cover and managed to return to where Smith was. He took them to a safe place, called for law enforcement and a wildlife officer and returned to the scene with them.
It was then Smith made a gruesome discovery.
The suspect reportedly shot and killed all five of Smith’s hunting dogs, four at point blank range.
“We knew we were in the wrong for going onto the man’s property but we were only trying to retrieve the dogs then get back on the land I had commissioned,” said Smith. “The shooter claimed he fired on the dogs because they were chasing his livestock. What he did was led the dogs over a hill and shot them.”
The dogs all had GPS collars on and each valued between $1,500 and $2,500 each.
“It was traumatic for them (referring to the three individuals shot at),” said Smith. “I don’t understand this at all.”
Assistant District Attorney General Philip A. Kazee told 105.7 News today this case is under investigation by the Fentress County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Facts are currently being gathered regarding the incident. Once it is completed, it will be presented to the district attorney’s office to see if charges will be brought.