A jury has awarded a Central Oregon rancher $246,500 from two hunters, one of which is a retired state police officer, who shot and killed three Great Pyrenees livestock guard dogs.
The brothers Paul Johnson of Roseburg and Craig Johnson of Bend have already been convicted of the killing the dogs owned by rancher Gordon Clark.
Clark, who owns and operates the historic Hay Creek Ranch 11 miles east of Madras, Ore., said he was relieved that the 3 1/2-year ordeal was over.
The shootings took place Aug. 27, 2012, on a grazing allotment in the Ochoco National Forest that Clark has used for the last 20 years. The Hay Creek Ranch owned by Clark is 11 miles east of Madras.
The Johnson brothers, who deputies identified as the shooters, were carrying rifles and pistols and bow hunting in an area where grazing sheep, guard dogs and campers have peacefully shared the land for decades.
The brothers gave conflicting information first claiming they were unaware of any sheep in the area, then said they thought the dogs were chasing elk, and then finally claimed they thought their lives were in danger.
In the criminal case the brothers were given probation, a year long ban from hunting, a $500 fine, 80 hours of community service and forfeit of firearms.
The investigation continued.
“Deputy David Bottoms and attorney Greg Lynch were unstoppable,” Clark said. “In the beginning, the Johnson brothers were only given probation, a year-long ban from hunting, $500 fine, 80 hours community service and a forfeit of firearms,” Clark said. “Had Deputy Bottoms not continued to gather hard evidence in the face of all the false testimony, we wouldn’t have the brothers’ footprints that were mingled with the sheep prints and the bullets that matched their rifle.”
“It has been emotionally draining for me and especially for my Peruvian herder,” Clark said. “The sad thing is the loss of those particular people-friendly dogs that you could walk up to and pet. In the 20 years we’ve worked our allotment, the dogs and campers have happily mingled and the campers loved it. To see the dogs so senselessly slaughtered, however, goes beyond the value as a working animal.”
Do you think justice was done here? Did the retired police officer get special treatment? Not every day you might see a retired police officer in an orange jump suit picking up trash on the highway.