Valley Woman's Dog Shot in the Snout by Forest Service Officer

Categories: News
trax-dog.jpg

Shannon Liska says her pitbull Trax didn't deserve to be shot by a U.S. Forest Service officer while on a camping trip in March. 

Shannon Liska's 2-year-old pitbull still has a bullet shard in its snout. The dog is now toothless on one side of his mouth, and doesn't have enough jaw bone left on that side to fasten replacement teeth to.

See also:

Gilbert Man Shoots at His Dog After it Bit His Daughter

Cop Shoots Dog: "Vicious" Pit Bull Shot and Killed By Coconino County Sheriff's Deputy

"I understand there is a leash law," Liska says, "I get it. I understand that pit bulls are scary. I get it. But [the officer] had a Tazer and he had mace."

Liska and her friend Jerald Williams were camping March 9, with Williams' two daughters near Apache Lake in the Tonto National Forest. About 6:30 p.m. Trax started barking because two Forest Service officers walked to their campground to check for camping permits. 

Liska's pitbull was not on a leash at the time, which is against the law. But Liska says her dog has never bit anyone, and a day earlier, kids from the adjacent camping spot ran to her site to play with Trax. 

Liska's dog barked at the two officers, and one of the officers called to Williams and Liska to contain the pitbull. 

"I heard [the officer] say, 'Call your dog back,'" Williams says, "But before anyone could do anything he'd pulled his gun."

The officer drew his gun, backed up, and shot Liska's dog near the left nostril. (A report from the MCSO, which investigated the incident, says they found a tooth and blood trail three feet from where the officer stood who fired his gun.) The bullet shattered most of the dog's jaw, and he went into the tent, bleeding, and finally passed out. 

Liska and Williams both disagree with the officer's report that says Trax lunged at the officer, which they say would be unlikely behavior for him. 

Williams also complains that the officers initially refused to help, and Williams says he had to plead with them to fetch a first-aid kit from their truck.  

Williams and Liska drove the dog to a veterinarian's office in Payson, where it underwent surgery and survived.  

Liska says the Forest Service is looking into the medical bills, which now total more than $7,000, and her veterinarian asked her if she would release the information. But she has sought to raise the money online herself for now, because she doesn't know what the Forest Service will do with the info.  

"I totally distrust their motives," she says. 

bloody-trax.jpg
Shannon Liska
After the Forest Service Officer shot Trax, he ran into the tent with Liska. 




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58 comments
pariahdox
pariahdox

I assume one of the main reasons forest rangers carry mace and a taser is to help protect them against animals.  I'm certain that it's one of their policies that if they find themselves in a situation in which they feel they have to defend themselves against a coyote that they use either mace or a taser first, and only go for the gun if neither are effective. However, when confronting a dog with a family who were right there watching, he goes straight for his gun. It's a hard, serious fact that more and more often law enforcement officers just shoot dogs that they feel are out of control when in many cases it isn't true. The sad stories are all over the internet and more often than not it turns out to be pit bulls. The fact is that officers have not been properly trained to deal with dogs, to understand when and if a dog is likely to be a danger.  All they know is that they have busted a lot of drug dealers who have nasty pit bulls that need to be shot, so all pit bulls must be the same. Check out this article about it:

http://www.examiner.com/article/law-enforcement-today-article-warns-police-not-to-kill-family-dogs

get.out
get.out

To find out more about how leashes, private homes and property, or fenced in yards do not protect pitbulls from trigger-happy law enforcers, just google it. 

get.out
get.out

It's strange that the discussion around this article has centered on whether or not the dog should have been on a leash. The problem I have with this conversation being about leash laws and the violation thereof is that there is no reason to think that the ranger would not have shot the dog if only the dog had been on a leash.  If the pitbull truly was LUNGING at the officer, a leash would not have stopped him.  A tazer, yes. Mace, yes.  A gun, obviously. Alternatively, if the dog was on a leash and NOT lunging, it doesn't follow that the ranger would not have shot it. If anyone doubts this, I encourage them to do some research.  Reading the link posted in an earlier comment is a start. 

The real issue here is whether or not deadly force was necessary. It does not seem likely that an aggressive, stranger-lunging-dog would be given an opportunity to be an off-leash camper, nor does it seem likely that such a dog would play with children. I think the use of deadly force in this case was criminal and the ranger should be held accountable for the pain he inflicted on that poor dog, and for putting the children and people around him in danger.

puppylove
puppylove

Do you know if other dogs have been shot by rangers at Apache lake?

theonlydaughterthere
theonlydaughterthere

I know for a fact that I am Williams' only daughter. The other child was my five year-old  brother. As for that, why would Liska trust her dog to be around a CHILD if it was violent? She would not.  Trax is a loving, relaxed, and well trained dog. He never came close to hurting anyone. There was a family who came by our camp that had a few children trekking along with them. Yes, Trax barked when he saw them. But did he run towards them? No. He sat and barked at them until he was told to stop. then the children came and played with him and the female pit-bull that was also camping along with us. Like I had stated before, Trax would never hurt anyone.

As far as the trauma afterwards, my brother hates any form of an officer. He now thinks that all rangers and police officers are "bad guys" because he watched the shooting take place. 

What does that show you?

I understand that people may have some prejudice against pit-bulls. But this forum is for support, not hateful people to vomit rudeness onto their screen. Go read up on the whole story if you want the truth. http://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/traxy-s-new-teeth/51735

"If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all."

iwasthere
iwasthere

As far as the dog lunging at the officer being "unlikely behavior", it DID NOT HAPPEN, I watched the whole incident no more than 50 feet away!

iwasthere
iwasthere

The officers lied as to where he fired the shot, he was 20-25 feet away from the dog when he fired, not to mention a 15 year old girl was in a tent 30 feet directly in the line of fire.  The dog was standing still and barking, as any dog would do when 2 officers approached secretly through a tree line into the camp at dusk.  This is only a sliver of the facts!

As far as the dog being off a leash, the campground was empty and nobody was anywhere near at the moment, only access was from the lake or the road, which the rangers parked so far up the road we didnt hear them.  WHY WERE THE RANGERS SNEAKING AROUND?

bgray59
bgray59

The ranger needs to go back to the range and practice some more.

goodogs
goodogs

you carry a gun when you are out running? scary.  anyway- just because the dog wasnt leashed doesnt mean that it was running at the ranger. i doubt that a dog who played with the neighboring kids was much of a threat and even if he was, the officer had a tazer and mace. i wish eveyrone who thinks that using a gun in situations where a dog is off leash and people are around is a good solution would THINK. there are other options. ones that dont put other people, and animals, in danger.

yomomma
yomomma

Keep your freaking dog on a damn leash you idiots.  I wouldn't want your dog running at me either.  I have come damn close to shooting some dogs while out hiking and jogging.  The Forest Service Officers don't know shit about your dog and aren't going to wait till it mauls the shit out of them to find out,

Samuel Begay
Samuel Begay

leash law people! if you are not able keep a dog on a leash you should not have one. No matter how nice or train any animal is never full trust them because you never know what might set them off.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@theonlydaughterthere  Please re-read my comments.  I am advocating FOR the dog.  I don't believe the dog was at fault or deserved to be shot.  I own pitbulls.  I also never allow them off leash.  I blame the owners, not the dog.  If the dog had been on leash, the entire incident most likely would never have happened.

If your five year old brother hates all forms of police officers, that's his family's fault for teaching him that.  One trigger happy incompetent should not be the basis for teaching a child to hate all cops.

And this "forum" is for comments about the article.  And my coments are on topic.  I read the story posted on the link before my first response. 

Finally, I am neither hateful nor nauseated.  Just disgusted with irresponsible and arrogant pittie owners who give good pittie parents a bad name.

iwasthere
iwasthere

and we were at the end of the road!  They had no reason to park out of earshot and sneak up on us.  Had they stayed in the truck and drove to the end of the road where we were, nothing would have happened.......VERY poor judgement on the rangers parts

This officer's lies run so deep, he stated in his report that I was drawing a weapon on him, yet I was not shot.....So in this situation a barking dog was more threatening to him than a large man pulling a gun on him after he fired a shot?   Nothing he stated in his report to his superior officer was correct.  Just a few things that should have been mentioned here.  He was completely incompetent and should not be a law enforcement officer nor carry a weapon.  He has several past complaints filed against him in different jurisdictions and has bounced across the country, presumadly running from these infractions to keep a job.

iwasthere
iwasthere

@4theAnimals So you as a dog owner have NEVER taken your dogs to an open field, meadow or just out in the wilderness and allowed them off the leash to play fetch or anything like that?  If not, I fell sorry for your dogs.  YES I understand the law, but it is not that cut and dry out in the wilderness, we were not in a developed campground, we were "wilderness camping"  at the end of a road backed up to a lake.  Not like the dog was running loose in a campground full of people

theonlydaughterthere
theonlydaughterthere

@4theAnimals My brother figured it out himself. No one has ever told him that police are bad. Not a single person but himself has said that.

 I was not directing my comment towards you whatsoever. Both dogs were wearing shock collars; and with almost no one around, we did not see a reason behind leashing the dogs. It seems to me though, that you are in fact hateful towards us "irresponsible and arrogant pittie owners who give good pittie parents a bad name." We are sorry that we became an inconvenience to you. perhaps you can just click on that X on the upper right corner and be done?

iwasthere
iwasthere

His family did not teach him that!  We are now having to reteach him the opposite due to the poor judgement of this one officer who has a history of using his own brand of justice.

The dog's owner is one of the most responsible pet owners I know, not to mention the dog is one of, if the THE best trained dog i have ever known.  The dog was on an E-collar which he responds to just the sound of, it had been over a year since the owner had even needed to use the "shock" setting on the collar, he also responds perfectly to voice commands, which during this incident, he did, I called his name and he stopped at the edge of the road and did not continue approaching the officer unlike his report.

Don't make judgements as far as irresponsible dog owners giving other owners a bad name just from one reporters story that states 1% of what happened.  Do you believe everything you read as fact?

iwasthere
iwasthere

How could they have recieved a report?  Nobody was near our campground!  They said specifically they were there checking Tonto passes, which we had.  IF they had a report of dog off a leash, sneaking up would definitely be the wrong approach

iwasthere
iwasthere

what, that my son grabbed it and tried it?  I didnt strap it on his neck and hold him down, he held one on his hand and pushed the button himself and giggled.

and I am dead serious if you truly want to be informed on them, try one.  I promise, they do not hurt.

iwasthere
iwasthere

Just do me a favor, get one and try it, you'll laugh once you feel it and realize they are not inhumane, hell, even my 5 year old son tried it and giggled!

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere Actually, members of the animal rescue community, including those who work directly with dogs recovered from dogfighting rings, share my opinion.  I'd rather side with them than with those who allow their dogs to be off leash in violation of existing laws, then try to place the blame on others when horrific events result from their own negligence.

Indeed, it is my opinion.  And I prefer to err on the side of humane treatment of all animals, particularly a breed which has been so brutalized by humans for so long.

You and Michael Vick are entitled to your opinions.  Carry on.  I'm sure you will.

iwasthere
iwasthere

the inhumanity of e-collars is based strictly on OPINION, whereas the effectiveness of them and lack of injuries from them is based soley on FACTS.  Now I'm not saying you're not entitled to your opinion, but do not judge others based on opinion alone.  And as far as me making incorrect assumptions, you have far exceeded me in that catagory.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere Well, again, your arrogance is showing.  If that's the law in AZ, then, my friend, in the real world, it really *is* that "black and white."

As for shock collars, please tone down your condescension.  I've done my research, and my vet considers shock collars to be inhumane and misused by even the most well-intentioned owners.  I don't use a choke collar on my dogs, either.  So your comment about me not knowing what I'm talking about is yet another incorrect assumption on your part.

iwasthere
iwasthere

unfortunately in AZ, its a statewide law, which means anywhere.  Like I said, NOTHING is that black and white.  You can be out on a wilderness prairie and be able to see for miles around that you are nowhere near anyone but have to have your dog on a leash in AZ.  on the humanity of shock collars, they are more humane than a leash, have you ever done any research on them?  the shock they emmit is so slight its less than holding a 9v battery to your tounge.  I have tried several on myself before I ever would agree to use one on an animal because I myself was a skeptic at first.  They are used in several high level dog training aplications and are far from lazy, they require much more dedication and work than just strapping a leash with a choke collar so the dog can crush his trachea.  Ask your vet how many injuries they have seen from collars/leashes compared to those from an e-collar.  I've never heard of a single injury from an e-collar.  When trained properly, the dogs repsond to the beeping from the collar so well, the shock function never gets used.  Several law enforcement agencies use them for patrol dogs, hunters of all kinds use them succesfully for training high end hunting dogs.  Being inhumane, is strictly opinion and based on no facts.  Do your research before judging someone as being inhumane to an animal be cause of using a proven method you know nothing about. 

iwasthere
iwasthere

it was not a formal campground. where we were was wilderness camping.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere Open fields that are fenced?  YES.  Dog parks?  YES.  On private property that's fenced?  YES.  They gate a lot of exercise and games and attention.

I don't think a formal campground qualifies as "wilderness" camping.

jbunny
jbunny

@4theAnimals @iwasthere  Let it go. These people had to watch their dog get shot. A five-year-old had to witness it, as well as other kids in the vicinity. It's traumatic enough for all involved, I would imagine, so be human. She knows she broke the law. The officer could have easily used mace or even a taser to subdue a large wild animal, so chances are he could have used less force than a bullet to subdue a friendly pit bull. It's a shit situation all around, blasting the family isn't productive.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere I'm glad!  The abundance of all caps, ellipses, and grammatical errors seemed to indicate an impending aneurysm.  ;)

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere If you're not careful, you're going to stroke out.  Calm down, for the sake of your children.  :)

iwasthere
iwasthere

so, you're suggesting I use illegal drugs?  wouldnt that be ILLEGAL?  maybe they should go around shooting anyone breaking the law................THAT is the whole point here, Yes, the law was broken, but did that give reason to fire a gun into a camp with people and kids all around?  NO!  Maybe you can give your info so I may call the police to come check on you and your MM........maybe when you open your door, your dog may peek his head out and bark, God forbid the officer should shoot him........this is the crap they are doing and using the leash law to hide behind.  Do some research, its happening at peoples homes, in their yards, at the front door.  its a damn epidemic of officers shooting pit bulls and it needs to STOP, that was the whole reason for us trying to get this out there.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere Your ego and desperation are beginning to show here.  I assumed the second dog was wearing a shock collar.  My apologies for the erroneous assumption.

Your hyperbole is becoming a bit hysterical, too.  Maybe an adult beverage or a joint of MM would reduce your current agitation. 

I'm sincerely saddened and outraged by what happened to the dog.  I hope he makes a full recovery, and I hope his owner accepts full responsibility for her role in this needless and heartbreaking incident.

Good luck with your hypertension.  ;)

iwasthere
iwasthere

where did you get 2 unleashed dogs wearing shock collars?  the second dog was sleeping in the tent with my daughter and ripped the door off the zipper and got out after the shot was fired.  So now we have to keep the dogs on a leash in the tent?  hell with your reasoning, dogs should be on a leash at all times, in the house, backyard, in your vehicle, no matter where they are just in case something happens and that dog decides they need to get out or move.  And how is taking your dog to a dog park "safe"?  Ive seen a dog fight everytime I've been to a dog park, just because it is legal to have your dog off a leash there, doesnt make it safe.  If anything, it is a more dangerous situation have several dogs loose in an enclosed area with no escape if something happens.

iwasthere
iwasthere

that detail wasnt mentioned because, as I stated before, they do not have all the facts or info from the incident.  this article was written after a 5 minute phone interview with only 2 of the 6 people involved.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@theonlydaughterthere @4theAnimals Well, consider my comments to be a public service by increasing web traffic to this article.  :)

I stand by my opinion of people who resort to shock collars.  Including the ones in this story.  I wonder why that detail wasn't mentioned in the article?  Hmmm...

theonlydaughterthere
theonlydaughterthere

 @4theAnimals "it had been over a year since the owner had even needed to use the "shock" setting on the collar"

Honestly, I have absolutely NO IDEA why you are still commenting. You have made your opinion clear. We get it, you are stubborn. Cool. We are just trying to make the story public so that the trigger-happy ranger will face the justice that he deserves. This is not meant to be a fight against you , or anyone else commenting.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@theonlydaughterthere @4theAnimals Great!  The story gets even better!  TWO unleashed dogs wearing shock collars!  Stellar!  Hell, who needs to follow any laws?  We got shock collars!  <eye roll>

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere No, I don't believe everything I read.  On either side of a story. 

Interesting that you mention shock collars.  That speaks volumes about the type of owners here.  Haven't pitbulls been abused enough?  People who use shock collars are lazy, and arrogant, and have no aptitude or interest in positive dog training methods.  Thanks for confirming my opinions of everyone involved.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere Please focus on actually reading my responses.  ;)  I told you my dogs do frequently play off leash.  And they get lots of exercise with other dogs, with my family and friends, and plenty of love.  They're very well trained (certified Canine Good Citizens), and much beloved.  And always on leash when not in a fenced area.

I confess, I frequently break the law.  I speed.  ;)

Oh, yes, I have heard of hunting dogs, but thanks for your sarcasm.  I'm sure it was unintentional.  I loathe hunting.

iwasthere
iwasthere

@4theAnimals

So, once again, you have NEVER allowed your dogs to play off a leash? You have NEVER broken a law? Most states do not have a leash law statewide or in rural areas.  Ever hear of hunting dogs?  how are they supposed to hunt on a leash?  PLENTY of hunting dogs and owners in AZ, are they all "inhumane, irresponsible pet owners"?

theonlydaughterthere
theonlydaughterthere

@4theAnimals @iwasthere 

That is a lovely OPINION you have there. But try not to shove it down other people's throats?

May I remind you how to click on the exit button on the upper right corner of the page?

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere Alas, the more facts you reveal, the worse it looks for the irresponsible dog owners.  ;)

Fire the ranger for overreacting - he clearly isn't stable enough for that occupation.  And the owners shouldn't be allowed to own dogs for a long period of time unless they agree to raise them humanely and follow all laws.

iwasthere
iwasthere

I am not making excuses, IF you knew all the facts you would not be casting judgement so quickly! 

instantly after the shot was fired the female pit with us was out without a leash, was that neglegence, or did she maybe rip her way out of the tent from fear of the gunshot?  You just dont know all the facts.

4theAnimals
4theAnimals

@iwasthere Having a dog off leash was the wrong approach.  Own up to the consequences of negligence and stop making excuses.  Had the dog been leashed (as required by law), it's very unlikely any of this would have happened.

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