Reader Questions Dogs' Culpability

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Editor:

The news story in Tuesday's Roundup about the killing of llamas has left me baffled and concerned.

First, I am sickened by the deaths of the llamas, and sympathetic with Bob Skousen, owner of the llama farm, for his huge loss. In light of his recent problems with attacks, it's understandable that he would be anxious to trap the culprits and end the slaughter.

However, the first sentence of the story admits the two dogs captured by the police were "suspected" of the crime. True, there is circumstantial evidence suggesting their guilt. They were seen on the ranch, etc. But Police Chief Gartner is quoted as saying no one actually saw them attack the llamas.

One dog was shot to capture it. I was immediately reminded of the shooting of Grant Kuenzli -- the assumption he was an attacker without witnesses or proof. And to take the similarity a little further, Grant was assumed by an agent of law enforcement to be a homeless, maybe crazy, bum, and therefore guilty.

These two dogs were described as "running loose, unkempt, skittish." Police Sgt. Todd Bramlet was quoted as saying there is no information that the dogs have been vicious before, and admitted neither did the dogs run away from the officers nor were they aggressive. One was shot anyway.

The owner of the dogs, when contacted, elected to have the dogs killed, which I have been told has since been done. So apparently, everybody's problem has been solved. But hold on a minute.

Those two dogs did not have their day in court. What if the dogs' absentee owner is declared liable for the crime his "suspected" dogs have been killed for? What if more llamas are murdered and it turns out to be coyotes? Would all those involved in this rush to justice just say "oops?"

Vivian Taylor, Payson

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