Man shoots, kills dog he says he thought was a squirrel

BEAVER CREEK, Ore. - A family's dog playing in its own front yard was shot and killed by a neighbor who says it was an accident and was shooting squirrels.

The neighbor told sheriff's deputies he saw something move in the shadows. But it turned out to be a 4-year-old black lab named Lola.

Lola was chasing squirrels in a wooded part of Karen Barreth's yard by the fence with her other black lab, Jack.

Karen's husband heard the shot.

"We heard the dog yelp. I immediately jumped up and ran to the back door," Karen said. "And I called, 'Lola!' I called, 'Lola!' and finally she came out, took a few steps (and) down she went. And I ran down to her, and I saw blood coming out of her chest."

She was shot with a .22-caliber rifle and collapsed after a few feet.

"She had a little white blaze right her (on her chest)," said Karen. "And he got her right at the top of the blaze right in the middle of her chest."

While Karen called the sheriff's office, her neighbor rushed over.

"He was really remorseful - almost in tears," Karen said. "He came up and says, 'I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I was shooting squirrels.' I said, 'You can't be doing that. What if it was a child? You can't be shooting toward houses and stuff like that.'"

Karen wishes "sorry" could bring back her Lola and erase what deputies are calling a reckless mistake that could lead to charges.

KATU News tried to speak with the neighbor on Friday. He was home but did not answer the door.

The sheriff's office has turned the case over to the Clackamas County district attorney who will decide whether criminal charges are necessary.