Moose shooter won’t face criminal charges |

Moose shooter won’t face criminal charges

The man who shot and killed a moose on Innsbruck Strasse Road in Summit Park on Sept. 19 will not face criminal charges. He will, however, be referred to the county animal control department and cited for having his dog off leash.

On Friday, after reviewing the crime report submitted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Summit County Chief Prosecutor Matthew Bates issued his finding stating "there is insufficient evidence to support criminal charges. The case is therefore declined."

According to the DWR report, the man was walking his dog when a cow moose appeared and began "trampling his dog." He then shot the moose with a semi-automatic handgun and returned home with his dog who was limping.

The man, who the county attorney’s office has declined to identify, has a concealed carry permit and immediately reported the incident to the county sheriff’s department. The moose, reportedly, ran into the woods and was later found deceased with two bullet wounds, in the chest and head.

According to the DWR report, the man was upset that he had killed the animal and claimed his intent was to shoot above the moose to scare it away from his dog.

The DWR report also describes the location of the shooting as "a popular area for recreation, including hiking and mountain biking."

The prosecutor’s finding states that he looked at whether the shooter could be found guilty of Wanton Destruction of Wildlife, a third-degree felony. Bates said he also considered whether the shooter could be charged with Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm because of the proximity to the neighborhood.

However, Bates decided neither state statute was violated.

"Based on the evidence in this case, it appears that the shooter was acting in lawful defense of his dog when he killed the moose. Thus charges for wanton destruction and discharging a firearm would not likely succeed at trial," he said in his response to the DWR.

Bates said his decision was also influenced by the DWR officers’ report that there were several other people walking their dogs off-leash, a practice that was "apparently commonplace in Summit Park."

"It would thus not be reasonable for the shooter to know or believe that the mere act of walking his dog off-leash would provoke or attract an attack by a wild animal," Bates concluded.

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