A Hunt County, Texas, volunteer firefighter has been suspended and is receiving death threats after he allegedly shot his neighbor’s two dogs. A photo of the deceased dogs was then posted to the fireman’s Facebook account.
The graphic photograph, posted by Tim Conatser of North Texas, depicts two dogs, one black and one yellow, lying on the snow-covered ground. A halo of blood is visible around the head of the black canine. Along with the picture were the words, “Somebody didn’t put any truth [to] my warning. Keep your d**n dogs on your property.”
CBS reports that in the days before the shooting, Conatser had told the owners of the dogs to make sure they were kept away from his ranch because they had attacked his livestock. A neighbor told CBS that the dogs had gotten into Conatser’s barn and he had discovered them attacking a calf. The neighbor added that the alleged shooter had said that the owners of the dogs had not seemed to care about his request to keep them away from his property and livestock. When the dogs returned the next day, he shot them.
The case is being investigated by both the SPCA and Hunt County Constable Terry Jones to determine if the actions of Conatser meet the standard for animal cruelty. The location in which the dogs were shot is rural, and members of the community say that dogs frequently roam free in the area.
In a statement to WFFA, Phillip Crawfton, a neighbor of Conatser, said, “It’s a sad thing that it came to that.” He added that he believes that another solution could have been found to keep the dogs off of the property.
In the wake of the publicity surrounding the shooting of the dogs, the post has been taken down from Facebook. A screen shot captured by an anonymous person continues to be distributed. Edward Ragsdale, fire chief of Union Valley, said that death threats have come in since the photo was published. The threats originated from “as far away as England, Portugal, Canada, every state in the union.” Ragsdale adds that the number of positive messages they have received is five times more than the amount of negative comments.
Ragsdale has confirmed that the alleged dog shooter began volunteering as a firefighter for Union Valley four months ago. Ragsdale described Conatser as a good firefighter and said he had offered to resign on Wednesday morning. The chief would not accept his resignation and offered to simply suspend him until the matter had been settled in court or by the constable’s office.
Constable Jones confirmed that a homeowner who is threatened by a dog or another animal on their property has the right to protect their family and their property. It has not been determined if the dogs had been posing a threat to the homeowner before he allegedly shot them to death.
Neighbor Brittany Clark told WFAA that she would take action if threatened by dogs or another animal, but “I don’t know that that’s the case.” Clark is reserving judgment until all details have been made public.
According to Ragsdale, the alleged dog shooter, who is currently receiving death threats, went to the constable’s office voluntarily on Wednesday in order to tell his version of what happened when the dogs were shot. The chief said that Conatser apologized and admitted to posting the photo on Facebook.
By Jennifer Pfalz
Image of dogs by This Year’s Love – Flickr License