KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Montana authorities said Tuesday they were investigating the shooting of a six-month-old dog by a woman who skinned the animal and posted pictures of herself with the pelt, believing she had killed a young wolf.
The animal was among more than a dozen dogs that local residents reported abandoned last week on national forest land in northwestern Montana near Kalispell, according to the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.
The hunter who shot one of the dogs posted images of herself smiling on social media in front of the animal’s head and hide, which were taken by the sheriff’s office and turned over to a state wildlife biologist, said Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks spokesperson Greg Lemon.
The biologist determined the remains belonged to a domestic dog about 6 months old, Lemon said. Officials were investigating if the woman was properly licensed to hunt wolves, he said. The sheriff’s office is investigating both the shooting of the dog and the abandonment of the other dogs, but declined on Tuesday to release any further information.
Lemon said accurately identifying animals before they are shot is a core tenet of hunting.
“The vast majority of hunters are very deliberate about when they pull the trigger that the animal in their sights is the animal they are licensed to hunt,” he said.