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Retired officer, brother sentenced to probation

For shooting three dogs


by: HOLLY M. GILL - Gordon Clark, of Hay Creek Ranch, lost three Great Pyrenees guard dogs to hunters last year. The hunters were sentenced to probation on Oct. 28. Behind Clark is a mounted cougar he shot after it had killed some of his sheep.A former state police officer and his brother were placed on probation Oct. 28 for shooting three guard dogs that belonged to a local resident while on a hunting trip in the Ochocos last year.

Craig Johnson, 60, of Bend, a retired state trooper, and Paul Johnson, 67, of Roseburg, entered no contest pleas to first-degree animal abuse in the Crook County Circuit Court and were placed on 24 months of bench probation. Circuit Court Judge Dan Ahern banned the two from hunting for one year, fined them each $500, and required 80 hours of community service and forfeiture of a firearm.

by: HOLLY M. GILL - At Hay Creek Ranch, Gordon Clark is raising Great Pyrenees puppies, relatives of the trained adult guard dogs that were shot in the Ochocos.The charges stemmed from an incident on Aug. 27, 2012, when five Great Pyrenees dogs, owned by Gordon Clark, of Hay Creek Ranch, were guarding a band of about 1,000 sheep in the Walton Lake area, east of Prineville. A Peruvian sheepherder was guiding the sheep when the dogs were fired upon, and three were killed.

Deputy Bryan Bottoms, of the Crook County Sheriff's Department, investigated the scene and recovered spent .223 caliber casings, and interviewed the two men, who initially denied involvement in the shootings. During a second interview, they indicated that they shot the dogs because they believed they were wild dogs and were unfamiliar with the herds of sheep in the area. Bottoms seized a Ruger Mark II .223 caliber rifle believed to have been the weapon used to kill the three dogs.

A Crook County grand jury indicted the brothers on charges of first-degree animal abuse and criminal mischief. The men initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but changed their pleas to no contest Monday as part of a negotiated sentence.

In a film clip on KTVZ from court on Monday, Craig Johnson said, "If the circumstances were the same, I would have shot additional dogs. Another dog immediately started growling and barking aggressively toward us."

Two of Clark's other Great Pyrenees dogs ran off after the shooting, and didn't return until one or two days later.

Paul Johnson, however, said he was "very apologetic, very sorry this happened."

Clark said Monday evening that for the past 20 years, he's been grazing sheep on a schedule on three allotments in the Ochocos — Reservoir, Canyon Creek and Trout Creek — and the dogs have never attacked or bitten anyone.

"They were mad because they put their camp in the wrong place and the sheep were there and they scared the game away," said Clark, adding that the men had a belligerent attitude. "They just opened fire. They said the dogs were attacking them."

Clark paid $1,200-$1,500 each for the dogs — before their extensive training. He did not receive restitution for the loss of the dogs, which are worth about $2,500 each, and is considering taking the case to civil court.

"I'm leaving it up to my attorney," he said.



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