Olmsted County authorities investigate dog’s death
DOUGLAS TOWNSHIP, Minn. (KTTC) – To Bethany McCain, her Alaskan Malamute, Arie, was more than just a man’s best friend.
“She was part of the family,” Bethany said.
Monday, Bethany and her family are living a nightmare, after they found Arie shot and killed nearby their home in Douglas Township. Now, Olmsted County authorities are investigating her death.
Saturday morning, the 4-year-old dog went missing after a routine bathroom break.
“We have 12 acres of woods. She roams a bit, has a morning trot,” Bethany said. “She wasn’t responding to my husband. My husband kept calling for her and she didn’t come home.”
Bethany and her husband, Jaimie, did everything right when it comes to dealing with a lost pet. They alerted neighbors, made missing posters and even sought assistance from the nonprofit “The Retriever.”
“We put an item of clothing outside that smelled like us. And some really yummy food,” she said. “Hoping she would come home. And she didn’t.”
The next day, before putting up missing posters, Jaimie had a gut feeling to search for Arie one more time. While the pair were split up, he found her body. Arie was shot in the chest, dead and appeared to have been dragged by the collar and hidden in a ravine about two houses down.
“She was shot in the front of her chest,” Bethany said. “About 15 yards away form the hunting stand, and in a wide open field. The hunter clearly saw her. She was wearing a sky blue caller. She usually has a blaze orange bandana, which I had been washing because it she got it dirty. Which, I feel terribly about.”
“There would be no confusion. It was intentional, I think,” Bethany added.
Authorities came to the crime scene, took photos and a statement from the McCains. According to neighbors, the killer had permission to hunt on their property, but suspicion rose when the McCains went back to where Arie’s body was found, to take more photos.
“When we drove up, we saw the person who killed her on his knees, burying her blood,” she said. “And we got closer, we stood up and kicked the ground.”
“Honestly, I think I went from heartbreak and grieving to anger and rage. It was evident that he was covering up the spot where he killed her. My husband stayed in the side by side, and I went out and confronted him. He denied it. My husband was good cop, and was trying to get admission out of him, which he eventually did do.”
While nothing will bring Arie back, Bethany hopes that her story is a word of warning to others.
“Just be cautious. You don’t always know who is in your woods or near your home,” she said. “...I’m not trying to find reimbursement or money. I just don’t want someone else to have a loss similar to ours. I don’t think its right for someone who can do this to be out there.”
Bethany said she’ll miss coming home to Arie and receiving a big smile and hug -- no matter what kind of day she had.
“She was truly a companion. We did everything from going on walks together, sitting by me when I cooked, sat by my kids when they ate. She slept by us as well. Already I’m missing her presence, and I know I will continue to miss her presence,” she said.
Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are investigating. Since it’s an open case, both agencies declined an interview.
“This case is unfortunate, and we can understand just how upsetting it can be to lose a family pet,” a DNR representative said in a statement to KTTC.
The DNR wants to remind hunters to keep a ‘safety-first’ mindset when they’re afield:
- Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded
- Always control the muzzle
- Be sure of the target and what’s beyond it
- Put finger on the trigger only when ready to shoot
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