By: Melina Matthes
OMAHA (kptm) - Deputies arrest a Thurman, Iowa man and his step-daughter accused of shooting and killing four dogs and hurting another.
Fremont county deputies say 65-year-old Orrie Covert, junior and 30-year-old Amber Sharp executed each dog with a single gunshot. They're both facing animal abuse charges.
Owner Seth Blackburn says, "I just don't know how you could ever go out and just shoot a dog right in the head for I guarantee absolutely no reason."
Last week the Fremont county sheriff's office called Blackburn and said that several of his hunting dogs had been shot. The landowners told authorities they shot the dogs because they were chasing their goats. "I mean there was no dog tracks. Like if a dog ran threw dew there would be…it would be all messed up," Blackburn says.
"They've been across my farmland before, they do not chase animals. They are definitely…they just track coyotes is all they do and I just knew in my own mind when they told me…that these dogs were probably not chasing goats," Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says.
Deputies say that all the dogs were shot at close range, execution style. Three had gunshot wounds to the head and one had been shot in the chest. "We found out that another dog was up in front of the house underneath of a tractor hiding for it's life and got a shot right to the heart," Blackburn says.
Deputies arrested 65-year-old Orrie Covert Jr. and 30-year-old Amber Sharp. Blackburn says that Sharp told him she thought she was shooting coyotes. "After she shot the first dog and saw that it was dead, how did she still think that they were all coyotes?"
The Sheriff says if the dogs were on their land and they attacked their animals, they would've had all right to shoot and kill the dogs, however these dogs were of a champion breed. They cost around 1200 dollars and they're trained specifically to only hunt coyotes. The sheriff says these dogs did not attack their animals. "These hunters do have the right of their dogs to go across their land while they're hunting…if they're just running across your land don't take the law into your own hands, don't shoot the animal," Sheriff Aistrope says.
Authorities also searched the residence. They found nearly a dozen guns and a stash of ammunition. They also seized a number of live and dead animals from the residence, in addition to numerous illegal wildlife parts and equipment. "I'd like to know how many bags of bones are laying out at their place, they're just sick people."
"The community's upset, they don't like animal cruelty and we sure don't here either."
Another dog was also shot, however it did survive. Covert and Sharp are being held on $8,000 dollar bond. Both have been charged with four counts of animal abuse. Investigators say numerous other charges are still pending.
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