â€śThis is one of the worst cases I have worked in which hunting dogs were killed for no reason,â€ť said Lt. Donnie Edwards of the LeFlore County Sheriff's Department.
Edwards' statement was made after a Poteau man allegedly opened fire, killing two hounds trained to track raccoon. A third coon dog was injured in the shooting.
Douglas Slade Frerich, 42, of Poteau was booked into the LeFlore County Detention Center on three counts of felony animal cruelty after the Friday night shooting.
According to the arrest report, Edwards received a phone call from Brent Thompson, who said someone had just shot his friend's coon dogs while near Monroe. Edwards and deputy Jason Robertson arrived at the scene of the shooting and spoke to Larry Stacy, Cory Highfill, Mike McCormick and Joshua Cheshier, owners of the hounds.
Stacy told the deputies his dog and two others had treed a raccoon on the creek and, while he and the other hunters headed toward the dogs, someone started shooting. Stacy and his friends ran across Frerich in the woods, where he reportedly told them he had shot their dogs. Frerich was still armed with a Ted Williams .22-caliber rifle when deputies arrived, according to the report.
Edwards said he asked Frerich if the dogs were damaging his property or his livestock, to which Frerich said "no." Frerich told Edwards afterward that the dogs were in his yard and had become aggressive toward him.
According to Highfill's statement to the deputies, his hound had made it back to the highway after being shot twice, once in the head and once in the back leg, and was in the dog box in the back of his pickup. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian for medical treatment and, as of Monday, still was recovering. The other two hounds were located by the GPS tracking collars they were wearing. They were found several hundred yards from Frerich's trailer, according to Edwards. Each of the two hounds had been fatally shot twice.
Frerich since has been released from jail after posting $15,000 bail.