An off-leash running pet dog was recently killed by an archery hunter on opening day in Colorado. The dog was in the care of Bellyache resident Stephen Katz when the incident happened on private property owned by the Jouflas family. The 7-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, owned by Vail resident Jen Mason, disappeared from Katz’s sight when he was shot with an arrow.
Henry Jouflas, 24, fired the deadly arrow. He told officers he was hunting from a tree on his family’s property when he noticed two dogs running up a hill chasing the herd of deer he was monitoring.
According to the police report, Henry assumed the dogs were loose and out of control because he didn’t recognize them and see no one else. He also hunted on his private family property. Henry claimed that one of the two dogs pulled over, so he “put him down to stop him from further harassing the wildlife.”
The Jouflas property is adjacent to a Bureau of Land Management parcel of land and trespassers have been a problem for decades, the family said.
Katz claimed he was given the wrong information and thought it was okay to be in the area jogging with the two dogs. The trail on the BLM property ends at the Jouflas border, marked with barbed wire and no trespassing signs. Katz went off the trail and didn’t notice the signs as he went through the barbed wire. Further on, he climbed over another fence, this time to follow his dogs who had slipped under the barbed wire in front of him.
“The area is fenced and clearly marked with no signs of trespassing,” owner Greg Jouflas said. Go everyday.
James Jouflas, Henry’s father, thought Katz must have known he was in violation and wanted him cited as such. Police have cited Katz for trespassing, but he intends to pursue what he believes to be the dog’s wrongful death in civil court.
Greg, Henry’s uncle, countered by reiterating Colorado law: the dog was guilty of hunting wildlife on private property and death was within legal limits. “It’s been the law in Colorado for many, many years,” Greg told the Go everyday. “That dog could have easily killed that fawn if he had caught it.”
Greg also said that if Katz was present with the dog, the murder would not have happened. Katz entered the scene moments after the dog was put down and a heated argument between him and Henry ensued.
“Henry confronted Stephen, informed him he was on private property and told him he had killed the dog,” the report said. “A verbal argument took place between Henry and Stephen. Henry said Stephen threatened him but understood emotions were running high over the deceased dog.
A report was filed, but later that day Katz contacted officers to say Henry had pointed his “crossbow” at him during the confrontation.
“Later that afternoon, Stephen contacted me by phone,” Deputy Brandon Bernard wrote in the report. “Stephen told me that Henry physically pointed the crossbow at him. I informed Stephen that he was changing his story and that he showed me how the crossbow was held and gave no indication that he had been threatened before. Stephen began to argue with me hypotheticals about what would happen if Henry pointed the gun at him and asked what Henry might be charged with.
Henry denied pointing the gun at Katz and no charges followed. His uncle added that the gun in question was actually not a crossbow, and his nephew didn’t even own a crossbow, which would be illegal to use during bowhunting season in Colorado.