Petition Closed
Petitioning Montana State House and 8 others

Enact laws that hold hunters accountable for reckless accidents that impact people, pets and property.


On Nov. 17, 2013 a hunter shot and killed Montana citizen Layne Spence’s malamute, Little Dave, on the road above Lee Creek Campground near Lolo Pass. Spence was cross-country skiing with his three dogs,  Little Dave, Rex and Frank, a few hundred yards from the road gate when he heard gunshots and saw the dog get hit. Spence said he screamed for the man to stop, but the shooting continued.

The hunter approached Spence and said he mistook Little Dave for a wolf. All three pet dogs were wearing lighted collars. The incident took place in the middle of Montana’s hunting season, but on a closed road popular for winter recreation.

Spence reported the incident to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department, which determined it had no basis for further investigation. There is no state law making it a criminal act to accidentally kill someone’s domestic pet.

The sheriff’s office also sent details to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Forest Service. Both agencies found no legal basis to charge the hunter with a crime.

Citizens should not fear for their own lives and those of their companions and pets while they recreate on public lands because of the irresponsible practices of reckless hunters. We believe it is time to speak out regarding the ethical and legal ramifications of hunting by holding hunters accountable when they discharge a weapon of any kind.  Hunters have a responsibility to know their target by putting pets on the same threshold as other poached wildlife. The state must also modify its cruelty to animals law, which now doesn’t apply to accidents.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Montana Legislator
    Ellie Boldman Hill
  • U.S. Senator Tester's Office
    Tom Lopach, Chief of Staff
  • U.S. Congressman
    Steve Daines
  • Director, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
    Jeff Hagener
  • President, WOTR
    Marc Cooke
  • U.S. Senator
    Max Baucus (U.S. Senator)

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