The shot rang out at 8:45 in the morning on Oct. 25 as Collette Bise fed her animals.
The Bise family owns a small farm in Newman Lake, and though the land along McCoy Road is privately owned and liberally posted with No Hunting and No Trespassing signs, gunshots are a familiar sound. “There’s shots continually out here,” Bise said.
But this shot worried her. Tibby, the family dog, was off her chain and nowhere in sight. Bise paused in her work and heard her dog yelp. “I heard a second shot and she yelped even louder. Then a third shot. After that – silence. I thought, ‘Oh my god, someone just killed my dog.’ ”
Stunned and sickened, she heard a neighbor yelling, “Get off my property!”
Bise walked over to her neighbor’s place. He told her he’d heard the shots and yelled, heard someone shout a reply – then nothing.
“I walked up and down the road looking for my dog,” she said. “But I was afraid to go too deep into the woods. I spent three hours looking for her and when I couldn’t find her, I knew she was dead.”
When her husband, Troy Bise, came home from work that afternoon he went looking for Tibby. He found her on their neighbor’s property lying in a pool of blood, and he found something else – a freshly killed fawn just a few yards away.
He’s still shaken by the memory. “My wife or kids could have gone after the dog,” he said. “What if some idiot was hiding in the weeds, shooting at anything that moved?”
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer Paul Mosman responded to the scene. “There was a jaggedness of wound channels,” he said, describing the condition of the animals. He couldn’t tell whether the animals were shot with a shotgun or a rifle.
Sadly, incidents like this are not uncommon. Mosman said his department estimates for every legal kill, there’s an illegal kill. “If you go out this time of year and hear a solitary shot – that’s not target shooting.”
Collette Bise said, “In the 12 years we’ve lived here this has been the worst year I’ve seen for shooting.”
Her husband said they’ve had neighbors who’ve had spotlights shined in their windows by people driving by looking for deer. “I’m not against hunting. I support hunting,” he said. “But there are so many places to hunt – not in the woods where my kids play.”
Bise is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting. The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust recently offered an additional $2,500 reward.
“Poaching is not only a serious threat to Washington’s wildlife, but when it takes place in private residential neighborhoods it places citizens and pets like this innocent dog in harm’s way,” said Dan Paul, Washington state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We hope this reward will bring the person or persons responsible for illegally shooting this deer, and taking this dog’s life.”
Collette Bise is still haunted by Tibby’s dying yelps. “She cried and cried,” Bise said.
Mosman said they have no leads. “We really depend on tips – people calling in. The Beacon Hill moose-poaching (in April) case was solved by tips from the public.”
Troy Bise added, “We really want to catch the person that did this. Somebody knows something.”