PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A Crook County grand jury has indicted two brothers from Bend and Roseburg on criminal mischief and animal abuse charges in the late-August fatal shooting of three Great Pyrenees sheep dogs in the Ochoco Mountains, authorities said Monday.
Sheriff's deputies said Craig Johnson, 59, of Bend, and brother Paul Johnson, 66, of Roseburg, told authorities they thought they were wild dogs and were not familiar with the large number of sheep in the area.
On Friday, the two men, who had been bow hunting in the area, were indicted on three counts each of first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree animal abuse.
The sheriff's office was called in Aug. 27 to investigate after the dogs' owner, Gordon Clark of Madras, got word of the killings from his hired hands who were running two large herds of sheep on their Ochoco grazing allotment, near the Walton Lake Sno-Park off Forest Service Road 4210, said sheriff's Sgt. Jim Chapman.
When Deputy Brian Bottoms arrived, he found the three large sheep dogs lying in the forest with apparent fatal gunshot wounds, Chapman said. Bottoms investigated the scene and recovered spent .223 caliber casings lying in the road, also collecting other evidence.
The deputy began interviews at bow hunting camps in the area and developed two suspects who were camped very close to the crime scene, Chapman said.
Bottoms returned to the camp later in the day to re-interview the suspects and obtained confessions from the two brothers, the sergeant said.
The deputy seized a Ruger Mark II .223 caliber rifle, believed to be the gun used to kill the three dogs.
Clark estimated the value of his dogs at $7,500, saying they were placed in the forest to follow and help protect his sheep, Chapman said.
District Attorney Daina Vitolins said Monday she could not comment on the status of the case at this time.