ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) – The Estill County Rescue Squad is starting the process to replace their only trained service dog, Hunter. Now, the suspect in that case is speaking out about the charges.
Police say Hunter walked away from his backyard on Sunday morning and was later shot by a neighbor, Charles Collins. An LEX 18 photographer working on the story found the dog’s body.
LEX 18’s Conroy Delouche sat down with Collins at Three Forks Regional Jail to hear his side of the story.
When asked if he shot Hunter, Collins would not admit it.
Collins: “I can’t say that.
Conroy: You’re not saying you did not shoot the dog?
Collins: “I’m not committing or condoning either way.”
Conroy: “You’re not denying that you shot the dog?”
Collins: “I’m not saying. No statement at this moment.”
Without referring to Hunter by name, Collins admitted he did encounter the dog, who he claims attacked his livestock and bit him on the arm.
Conroy: “Why was Hunter shot then? ”
Collins: “Probably because he chewed my arm up.”
A witness told police she saw Collins, from his yard, shoot Hunter as he walked down the road.
Police say they recovered a shotgun shell casing from Collins’ yard.
David Conrad says he trained Hunter for thousands of hours to be a service tracking dog and that he was surrounded by livestock growing up.
“This dog showed no meanness in him whatsoever. So there is no possible way this dog attacked him,” Conrad told LEX 18.
While Collins sits in a cell waiting for his arraignment tomorrow morning, the Rescue Squad mourns the loss of Hunter and is now searching for a replacement.