Family mourns three dogs shot in Eagle Rock
Owner hoping to bring more awareness to animal cruelty
An Eagle Rock woman is speaking out on behalf of her family, which is in mourning after their three labradors were allegedly shot to death and mutilated while playing in Table Rock Lake about half a mile from their home.
Dani Johnson, of Eagle Rock, said her two black labs, Gus, 7, and Tug, 11 months, as well as her yellow lab, Kaycee, 3, were shot to death last week, and she is looking for answers.
"We let them out [on March 13] and they didn't come back," she said. "I was up all night calling for them but could not find them. I called the vet office here, and no more than five minutes later, I got a phone call from a person with a really callous voice saying he heard I had called about the dogs. I was happy and thought he'd found them, but the next thing he said was, 'I just called to let you know that your dogs were shot to death and will not be coming home tonight.'"
Johnson said her husband and his brother went to the vet clinic and were directed to the Paradise Cove Camping Resort.
"They went and knocked on the door there but no one answered, so they went to some neighbors and started asking about the dogs," Johnson said. "A nice couple answered and immediately cried, realizing we were their owners. They told us how beautiful, healthy, friendly and happy they were and how much they'd enjoyed watching them play. They were kind people, and they were horrified. The neighbors said they were watching the labs playing in the lake when a lady drove a golf cart down to them and began shooting them.
"She didn't kill them, and the dogs were tortured. They were deliberately doing gut shots, and the people who saw it said they shot Gus repeatedly in his private parts."
Johnson said the witnesses went down to help the dogs, and even in pain, they were licking the witnesses' hands as they died.
"The dogs had been dragged into a pile and all of their collars had been cut off," Johnson said. "My husband and brother-in-law brought them home so we could give them a proper burial."
Johnson said she made a report with the Barry County Sheriff's Office and said she was initially brushed off, told nothing could be done since the dogs were on the shooters' property.
"But, after this social media response, I got a call and a detective wants to come talk to us and file a report," Johnson said Monday afternoon. "Apparently, the people are saying they felt threatened by our dogs and they were going after their cat, but that's ridiculous because they've been around cats before and are kind. Even the UPS driver loves our dogs."
The Barry County Sheriff's Office confirmed there is an active investigation into the allegations.
Johnson had a public Facebook post receive more than 2,000 shares before Facebook took the post down. Another post by one of Johnson's family members had more than 500 shares on Monday.
The post has gained national attention, as evidenced by reviews left for Paradise Cove Camping Resort on websites like google.com, placedigger.com, yelp.com and rvparking.com. Comments have come from as far away as California and Montreal, Canada. Someone has also vandalized one of the business' signs, painting "dog killers" in red lettering.
A couple people have also left positive remarks on google.com, calling the business owners godly people, sharing stories of how the owners had helped them in the past and calling for a stop to the harassment of the owners.
"The response has been amazing," Johnson said. "If I could physically hug everyone who shared the post or left comments supporting us, I would. I want to tell everyone thank you, and I want to use the power of social media to call for more stringent animal cruelty laws.
"Even if you have livestock and a dog comes on your property, most people would shoot in the air to scare it off, not gutshot, torture and mutilate its genitals for the fun of it. There are so many animal lovers out there, and I hope this doesn't happen to any dog ever again.
Two calls for comment were placed to Paradise Cove Camping Resort. The first resulted in a busy signal, and the second rang through, but no one answered.