Big, white, fluffy dogs watch over Terrebonne rancher Ed Barnes' hundreds of goats, protecting them from coyotes and cougars. But Sunday morning, one of his Maremmas couldn't protect itself from the only animal Barnes really fears.
"She was shot through the chest, with a gaping hole in her shoulder here," Barnes said Monday, pointing to an area on his shoulder.
Barnes said he saw her lying out in the field, one of her grown puppies lying by her side.
"I feel very vulnerable, helpless here, you know, to come out and see what's happened. I'm trying to protect the livestock," Barnes said.
Barnes said he thinks someone trespassed onto his fields and paid the price.
"Whoever did it probably went home and got a gun, and came back in retaliation, because they probably got bit," Barnes said.
Crook County sheriff's deputies are looking for the shooter and told NewsChannel 21 that the person who killed the dog, if found, likely would face aggravated animal assault charges.
Meanwhile, Barnes is forced to look for a replacement to protect his livelihood.
"They work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they love it," Barnes said. "She was perfect in every way, and she did her job well."
Barnes estimates his 4-year-old dog was worth about $3,500.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Crook County Sheriff's Office at 541-447-6398.