Latte and Swag, Maltese mix & Chihuahua, killed by predatory animal, not shot to death

Categories: Colorado Crimes

dog shooting.jpg
Video below.
Update: It was a terrible story -- a report that two small dogs, named Latte and Swag, were found dead on Sunday morning, apparently after having been shot to death by a BB gun or small caliber weapon. But appearances can be deceiving. After the Denver Police Department offered a $2,000 reward for the shooters, tests proved the dogs hadn't been shot at all.

Our post about the case stirred plenty of debate from readers, with a number focusing on a past noise complaint, albeit dating back to 2005. In a Comment of the Day post, one person made the point that while shooting the dogs was wrong, the owner needed to take some responsibility if their barking had been out of control.

That wasn't the case, however. According to the DPD, a necropsy performed on the dogs showed that they'd actually been killed by a "predatory animal."

We've left a message for Doug Kelley, director of Denver Animal Care and Control, with whom we previously spoke about the case. When and if he responds, we'll offer another update.

Update, 7:09 a.m. November 17: Heard back from Denver Animal Care and Control's Doug Kelley, who confirms that the two dogs were killed by a predatory animal. "At this point," he says, "the investigation is over, because they were able to prove that the animals were not shot."

Look below for our previous coverage.

Original item, 11:35 a.m. November 14: Yesterday morning, Cristina Amaro opened the backdoor for her two beloved dogs, a Maltese mix named Latte and a Chihuahua dubbed Swag. But when she called for them a while later, they didn't return -- because they'd been killed.

Doug Kelley, director of Denver Animal Care and Control, provides more details.

The owner "let the dogs out around 6:30 a.m.," Kelley says. "Then, when the dogs didn't come at eight o'clock, she went into her backyard and found them dead."

Swag.
At this point, the cause of death is unclear. Blood was found on the dogs, Kelley notes, "and the officer who picked them up found what very well could be an entry wound," leading to the suspicion that they were shot with a small caliber weapon of some sort. "There are some really powerful BB guns out there now, and air guns, and .22s," he continues, "so it's hard to tell -- and these are small dogs."

To determine a cause of death, a necropsy will be conducted, probably at the Colorado State University diagnostic lab. At this writing, the dogs remain at the Denver shelter, because relatives of Amaro were traveling from Texas today in order to view the bodies. "They need closure," Kelley says. Either this afternoon or tomorrow, they'll be transported to the CSU facility, with a report expected "pretty quickly," he estimates.

Thus far, there are no suspects in the case and only guesses as to a motive. "There was a barking dog complaint against them, but it was back in 2005," Kelley says. "And I don't even know if we went out there. For a first complaint, we typically respond with a letter." Moreover, Amaro's home "doesn't face a street or anything like that," making questions of access key.

Cases of animal cruelty like this one are fairly rare in Denver; Kelley says instances of owner neglect are far more common than attacks on dogs by others. If it can be shown the dogs were shot to death, however, the crime would be considered a class-six felony for a first offense, a class-five felony it the shooter had a previous record. "We take this kind of thing very seriously," Kelley says.

Look below to see Fox31's coverage of the story.

 

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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Matthew Weatherspoon sentenced to 30-months probation for slashing bulldog puppy in face."

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12 comments
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Guest
Guest

a cop who doesn't know what they are talking about? no fucking way.

Jay
Jay

Remember cops are allowed to be ignorant of the law, but not us normal folk!

Garywtoon
Garywtoon

little hairless rats got what was coming to them.garywtoon@yahoo.com

KurtMcGurt
KurtMcGurt

The work of Vulpes vulpes or Canis latrans. 

Kjarkent
Kjarkent

Goodbye, innocent, yapping canines...your destination the lower reaches of the river styx.Spend more taxpayers money,...?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Denver has an ordinance requiring that two people sign a complaint against the owners of barking dogs, and ignores complaints (though the problem does not seem as acute as e.g. in Pueblo) but that does not begin to justify shooting dogs in their owner's yard -- whoever did this should serve time.

Ralph
Ralph

I love dogs but I hate dog owners that let their dogs bark constantly. It is very sad that someone did this but if the dogs were a constant noise disturbance then it would make sense why a person would do this. Torture makes people do crazy things and being forced to listen to a chronic barking dog in your own residence is torture. Pet owners that allow their dogs to be a nuisance should be punished, not the pets.

Cheyneliam
Cheyneliam

""There was a barking dog complaint against them, but it was back in 2005," Kelley says."One barking dog complaint......6 years ago........Is your post just a personal venting or did you draw your own conclusions from the article?

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Strong post, Ralph. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for reading and sharing your views.

Guest
Guest

This is a joke, right? Because the comment you are responding has nothing at all to do with the story. Actually, I'm sure Ralph is a crazy person.

Ajbeen
Ajbeen

My heart goes out to Christina and her beloved angels. I am so sorry to hear something like this happening here, or anywhere. May they rest at Rainbow Bridge with wagging tails waiting for their loving master. By the way, please prosecute those A**sholes to the fullest extent the law allows.

OldStNick
OldStNick

Bark the Herald Angels Sing.

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