Zeke and Walle (Boston25News.com)

Golden retriever shot, neighbor claims self-defense

>> Read more trending news

The owners say 1-year-old puppies Zeke and Walle were inseparable and were great with their 3-month-old baby, Toran. 

"They were best friends and we got them at the same time," said Krissy Dashner.

Dashner and Pat Bates were just beginning to feel like their family was complete. But things changed when they let their dogs outside on Sunday and they escaped from the yard. 

"He went to put them on a leash and they got out before him and booked it kinda into the woods," Dashner said. 

The couple spent an hour searching for the dogs, until they heard five gunshots. 

Dashner and Bates later learned from police that their golden retriever Walle was dead. He had been shot by the neighbor who lives through the woods. 

They describe the 50-pound Walle as a "goofball" who would never hurt a fly. 

"I can't imagine why you would ever shoot Walle or any dog. Just call animal control," Dashner said. 

WFXT spoke with the neighbor, who would only identify himself as Mark. He says Walle killed his chicken, and says he doesn't regret his actions. 

"I tried to spook them the retriever turned and charged at me. I had no choice but to shoot him, it was self-defense," Mark said. "It was either get bit by the dog or shoot him. I'm an animal lover, I love dogs, I would never shoot a dog unjustly."

Mark says he has a gun because there are all kinds of predators around his property, such as fisher cats. 

"I can't imagine if the kids - if our kids were with the dogs at the time. I mean, we have paths in the woods that we walk and other people walk all the time," Dashner said. 

Police are still investigating whether these actions were criminal or not. Police will not release any further information until the investigation is concluded.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.