Texas Game Warden Fatally Shoots Hiker’s Unleashed Dog
A Texas woman whose young dog was fatally shot by a game warden last weekend is disputing a claim that the pup was behaving aggressively when it was killed.
Cathy Tomsett was walking her year-old heeler, Woodrow, along Cibolo Creek at Crescent Bend Nature Park in Schertz (just northeast of San Antonio) on Saturday, February 25, when the incident occurred. Woodrow was off his leash at the time, despite a sign at the trail head reading, "All Dogs Must Be Leashed."
The San Antonio Current reported that game warden Javier Fuentes was patrolling the area for poachers when he witnessed Woodrow running free and chasing a deer. Fuentes fired on the dog, citing concern for his safety.
“That’s when the dog seemed to be aggressive towards him and that’s when the incident occurred," Shertz Police Department Lt. Manny Casas told the San Antonio Express News. Casas said he attempted to be a mediator between Tomsett and Fuentes, but that Tomsett was agitated and refused to accept contact information from the game warden.
In a public Facebook message to Texas Parks and Wildlife, Tomsett said she was aware of the leash signage, but that many owners allow their dogs to run free in that particular park.
"I've not once met another dog walker who had their dog on leash," Tomsett wrote. "It is the norm and the beauty of this park."
Tomsett went on to say that she's "no forensics expert", but that her dog was shot through his side from a distance, and that he was within 100 feet of her at the time of his death.
Despite her anguish over losing Woodrow, Tomsett told the Current she will not be filing a complaint against Fuentes.
"He is the man with the gun and I know I could never win that battle," Tomsett wrote. "However, TPWD might consider changing their sign at the trail head that reads 'All dogs must be leashed' to 'All dogs off leash will be shot on sight.' Another consideration might be to remove Officer Fuentes from duty in an urban, populated environment."
Tomsett expressed concern that Texas Parks & Wildlife might remove her message from their Facebook page, but the post was still accessible by the public at the time of this article's publication.
According to the Current, Texas Parks & Wildlife has reached out to Tomsett to apologize on two occasions. Tomsett said the first representative she spoke with told her a dash cam may have recorded the incident, but the second said TPWD vehicles are not equipped with dash cams.
Tomsett wrote that Woodrow was a joyful and intelligent dog who had traveled with her family to over a dozen states, British Columbia, and the San Juan Islands of Washington. He loved to fetch and had recently learned to catch tossed snacks.