Who just drives around at night hoping to shoot household pets?

As an animal lover and someone close to military veterans, this upsets me on a number of levels.

Survivor of war loses dog to random violence
Beloved pet's killing reopens old wounds for former Navy SEAL
By DANE SCHILLER
Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

All it took was the gunshot fired outside his Walker County home to trigger training ingrained in former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor of a dramatic battle in Afghanistan in 2005.

He did a sweep through the house. Checked on his mother. And bolted out the door, where he found dead his beloved Labrador retriever, Dasy, a dog given to him to help him recover from his own wounds and the loss of his fellow Navy comrades.

“I could tell she tried to get away because there was a blood trail,” Luttrell recalled in a phone interview Wednesday. “When I saw she was dead, the only thing that popped into my head was, ‘I’ve got to take these guys out.’ ”

Shrouded in darkness, Luttrell, who’d just been released from the hospital after another round of surgery, crawled under a fence, skirted a ditch and sneaked up on four strangers in a sedan who apparently killed the dog on a whim. Luttrell said they were oblivious as he raised a 9 mm pistol from about 25 yards away and had one of them dead to rights.

But as the car pulled away, he didn’t fire.

Instead, he scrambled back to his pickup and launched what became a wild 40-mile chase that reached speeds of over 100 mph and crossed three counties.

“I did everything right; I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told the Houston Chronicle of the April 1 incident. “Make sure everyone knows they cold-bloodily murdered.”

Luttrell stayed on the line with a 911 emergency operator as he tried to catch the car, which was just a bit too fast for his four-door truck to overtake.

“I told them, ‘You need to get somebody out here because if I catch them I’m going to kill them,’ ” Luttrell recalled telling the operator.
Wounds still deep

The nighttime killing of a such a special dog played right into Luttrell’s deep wounds.

The 4-year-old yellow Lab was given to him upon his return from the war to help him heal. He named it Dasy as an acronym for his SEAL team members lost in a mighty fight in which they were isolated and far outnumbered by Taliban fighters.

He wrote a book, The Lone Survivor, about the experience.

Luttrell said he still wrestles with what he went through. He doesn’t sleep at night, usually keeping his guard up until sunrise, just in case.

“I don’t talk about it much. I just don’t sleep at night,” he said. “I am in and out of the house all night, going, moving around.”

Luttrell and the men he was chasing were finally stopped by Onalaska Police Department.

Luttrell said he confronted the men. “I was like, ‘Which one of you guys killed my dog?’ ” he said. “They started talking smack.”

The police sent Luttrell home, and the Texas Rangers have been working with the Walker County Sheriff’s Department.

So far, two men have been charged with felonies that could land them in state jail for at least six months.

Michael John Edmonds II, 21, and Alfonzo Hernandez, 24, both of New Waverly, are charged with cruelty to nonlivestock animals. The driver of the vehicle was arrested on suspicion of not having a license.
Other dog killings linked

There are at least five area dog killings in recent months that could be linked to the case, said Texas Ranger Steven Jeter.

“It could have been worse for both parties involved,” he said. “I wouldn’t advocate to the general public to do what he has done — to follow them at that rate of speed.”

“Marcus is trained to do certain things; he fell back on his training,” Jeter said.

Luttrell said he’s left town for now and wants to stay as far away as he can. Talking from a place he described as “the middle of nowhere,” Luttrell said he knows the attack on Dasy pushed him to a place where he doesn’t want to be.

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Replies to This Discussion

That is terrible. I don't blame that guy for wanting to kill them. I would have done the same thing. However, this is precisely why I would never leave my dogs out in the back yard (if I had one). People are just plain cruel and callous. I can't stand it when I see people leave their dogs tied outside a coffee shop or in the car when they are running an errand. It is so dangerous. People often steal them and sell them online.
When I lived out on the farm we had a dog door and let them go in and out at night without worrying about it. Similarly, we never thought twice about leaving the dog alone in the car with the windows down when we ran quick errands. I'm so used to living in a safe area that these things always shock me.
Every year in Dallas there is at least a couple of news stories about someone whose dog was stolen from their car or yard. One lady was even letting her little pure-bred French Bulldog puppy out to pee, he was off-leash and she was standing in the doorway of her townhome. A van stopped suddenly and swept him up and took off before she could even react. They got $600 for the puppy probably through an online ad. You can't trust anyone, anywhere, anytime as far as I am concerned.

Since I had an animal rescue thing going on, I used to get a lot of emails from people looking for their stolen dog.

These two men stole a cat from the pet store once, and the camera caught it on tape, but they never caught them. And I recall another young man who stole a puppy from the back room of a pet store, and the puppy had pravo or distemper and they had put him in the back (not sure why they didn't take it to the vet), and he walked out with it.
He did show incredible restraint. I'm not sure I could have either.
I was worried to post that my first thought was, "Do not leave your beloved pet outside alone and unattended", but Dallas Gaytheist said it for me! I kept telling my husband, don't put the dogs out (even though it's fenced!) and walk back inside. At least stand in the window if it's raining or anything. One day he let them out and went inside, made a sandwich, let the smallest dog back in, and 20 minutes later heard honking in the front yard. Ignored it. It kept going. Our Dane was out across the street at the neighbors (who are terrified of dogs) and we live 2 streets away from a busy road and a short walk to a highway! He was frantic, apologetic, and he has never let them out again. The huge dog somehow squeezed his body through a small crack in the fence. I'm sorry for this man's loss, and I probably would have followed those jerks, too! A few dogs in our neighborhood were poisoned for no reason, as well. I usually look out the door to make sure there isn't any food or weird objects in our backyard before the dogs go out.
It is astounding how dogs can get through such tiny apertures, spaces under fences, spaces between slats, etc. It is like they are natural born Houdinis.

The caution you show with your dogs is sensible.
That is awful. You should have sued. They should at least notify you.
It's so frustrating that our laws have such minor punishments for such violent crimes. Pets are seen as property instead of creatures with the capacity to provide unconditional love. I know that if anyone were to attack one of my precious dogs, I would probably react as Luttrell did (although without the training).

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