A blood trail on Deer Creek Drive in Hoback last week led to the discovery of a dog that had been shot in the back.
The killing spurred a police investigation, but the Teton County Prosecutor’s Office determined that there isn’t enough evidence to pursue a criminal case. And so far no one has confessed to shooting Baylian, a 4-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback.
“I have received the K9 related accident,” Teton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan wrote in a letter to investigators. “I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to pursue prosecution at this point in time. If anything further develops, feel free to pass it on.”
Baylian, also known as Bay, had collapsed on the side of the road on Saturday, June 20, and lay bleeding when a neighbor saw him. The neighbor ran to tell the dog’s owner, Michelle Farrell, who then rushed him to the veterinarian.
At first Farrell thought Baylian had been hit by a car. But the veterinarian discovered a bullet in an X-ray.
“Dr. Alex Radebough determined that Baylian had been shot in the spinal cord, was paralyzed due to the injuries sustained, and euthanized,” a Teton County Sheriff’s Office police report stated.
“He wasn’t violent or vicious at all,” Farrell told the News&Guide. “He didn’t deserve it.”
Farrell said Baylian was a gentle, social dog and that her family is devastated over losing their only pet.
“I can’t think of anything more cruel than to shoot an animal,” she said, “to leave it wounded and bleeding and scared. That dog knew nothing but happiness and love.”
The shooting was reported to police, and an investigation was opened, which included a scene process, an area canvass and interviews with Farrell and several of her Deer Creek Drive neighbors.
“The only feasible place for Baylian to have traveled from while injured was the hill side south of [neighbor’s] home,” Deputy John Faicco wrote in the police report. “The injuries sustained would make it difficult for Baylian to travel in any direction besides down hill, as indicated by the trail of blood found on the road.”
The names of those interviewed are redacted in the police report.
There have been no complaints to law enforcement about Baylian, according to a public records search.
In the police report some neighbors had complaints about him roaming the neighborhood and doing his business in their yards or driveways. But there were no complaints about him being aggressive.
One neighbor, who moved in a few weeks before the shooting, told deputies that he heard a gunshot, but he had no further information.
The neighbor whose property deputies believe Baylian was on or near when he was shot had complaints about Baylian coming on their property and “harassing [their] dogs.”
“At one point in the past Baylian, being an un-neutered male, impregnated one of [neighbor’s] dogs causing a financial issue,” the police report stated.
The neighbor complained to the homeowners association president about Baylian the night before the shooting, the reports say.
The neighbor said Baylian was pooping in their driveway and suggested the HOA president talk to Farrell about it.
“[Neighbor] also added that [they] had done research and discovered that [they] were within the legal right to shoot a dog which was on [their] property,” the police report states.
That neighbor denied shooting Baylian, deputies said, but said they would have in the past given the opportunity.
“[Neighbor] stated that she was not sad that Baylian was shot,” the report stated.
The police report suggests animal cruelty as a possible crime if the dog was shot unnecessarily. But without an eyewitness or a confession the case likely won’t go anywhere.
Farrell said that she’s distraught over losing Baylian and that not knowing who shot him is disturbing.
“So many people knew Bay and loved him,” she said. “No one should be able to get away with doing such a horrible thing.”