GRANT, Mich. — A family from Newaygo County is devastated after they say their neighbor shot and killed their two dogs over the weekend.
The Walker family says their two animals, Ruger and Colt, were killed Sunday.
The Walkers live on a nearly 100-acre farm in Grant, about a mile and a half away from the neighbor who they say killed their dogs. The animals had radio collars, but the family says sometimes they slipped them and ran over to their family's property that backs up directly behind theirs.
They say the animals were farm dogs, who enjoyed the freedom their property could provide.
The Walkers say calling animal control should have been the neighbor's first move.
"Give me a ticket. I don’t care. What you did was wrong. And I hope you pay,” father Travis Walker said. "They’re creatures that were given here by God, for us to enjoy. He took our babies away."
The family tells FOX 17 Colt made it home after dragging himself for a mile on his two front legs after he was shot in the buttocks three times.
When they realized their animals were injured, they went out to look for Ruger, and eventually found him shot in his legs.
"I just can’t can’t get it out of my head, that I had to track my own dog’s blood trail for 15 miles. Over 10 hours,” said Kameron Walker. "I got up on a log, and he was laying at the base of a tree. He started wagging his tail.”
On Wednesday, the neighbor in question admitted to FOX 17 on the phone that he did indeed shoot the animals. FOX 17 is not identifying the man because he has not been criminally charged, but he did tell reporter Julie Dunmire he has killed a total of four dogs.
Two belonged to the Walkers. The other two dogs reportedly belonged to another resident.
The neighbor told FOX 17 he shot the animals for fear they would harm his livestock. He also says that the two dogs he shot on Sunday were in his driveway, running away when he opened fire.
The neighbor says the dogs were always harassing him and made frequent stops to his property.
The neighbor says, while he feels bad, he had no choice but to shoot them.
The Walker family disagrees that their dogs ever deserved to be shot and killed. Colt and Ruger never harmed their livestock. They say this was senseless.
“I don’t know how he could do it. I could never do it. I know a lot of people who could never do it,” Kameron Walker said.
“A man knows when you take a life, you make a kill shot. You don’t wound and maim. What you did was wrong.” Travis Walker said.
Both dogs ended up being euthanized. Kameron says he was able to say goodbye to Ruger at the vet's office.
“I got to see my best buddy, one last time before he passed. I got to pet him one last time before he passed away,” Kameron said.
“We raised them from puppies. To be here. To be at our house, to be on this property, to protect our animals, to love us, to love everybody. There wasn’t a mean bone in any one of these dogs,” Travis said.
The neighbor who admitted to FOX 17 that he shot the dogs says he is not the problem—his neighbors are, adding people need to keep better eyes on their pets and abide by leash laws.
“Coming home is really hard because they're not at the door,” Kameron said.
Michigan State Police is investigating a case of animal cruelty in the area but cannot confirm specifics.
A friend set up a gofundme to cover the emergency vet costs the Walker family incurred while trying to save their beloved dogs. You can find the gofundme here.