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Family dog shot and killed by member of nearby rifle range

Man who shot dog said he mistook it for a coyote
Credit: Tricia Kreiser

LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. —

Gun shots ring out across a field in Swatara Township.

“We`re used to that. We hear that all the time,” Tricia Kreiser said.

The warehouse manager has lived on the property next to a rifle range for more than four years, so the sound of shots doesn’t surprise her.

She was surprised the morning of Dec. 16 when her 9-year-old German Shepherd mix Tucker didn’t come back from being let out. Tricia had to leave for work, but when her husband Larry also couldn’t find Tucker, she left work early to come back and search for him.

After several hours of searching, she was flagged down by some members of the Jonestown Fish and Game Association, which owns the rifle range.

“I knew they were going to tell me that Tucker was dead, but I just assumed they would say they found him on the road,” Kreiser said. “I never in a million years thought he was going to tell me that someone shot him.”

Club member William White told her he had mistook Tucker for a coyote and shot him, Kreiser said.

Tucker was still on Kreiser’s property when he was killed. She still can’t walk to the wooded area where he was found.

“Every time I even come near this part of the land I just start to cry,” she said.

Kreiser reported the incident to police. The Pennsylvania Game Commission took over the investigation and charged White with three violations: unlawful taking/possession of game or wildlife, damage to personal property, and unlawful hunting in a safety zone. White had made the shot within 150 yards of the Kreisers’ home.

White did not respond to a request for comment.

A member of the Jonestown Fish and Game Association said the organization is fully cooperating with the Game Commission’s investigation. He added White has been indefinitely suspended from the club and is no longer allowed on their premises.

“It just upsets me that the club won`t even come down and apologize to us and no one`s given me a guarantee yet that things are going to be changing,” Larry Kreiser said.

As lifelong hunters, the Kreisers don’t have any issue with the sports, when done responsibly.

“I won`t stop hunting because of it, because I refuse to live in fear because of someone else`s foolishness,” Tricia Kreiser said. “But this whole thing just has me absolutely furious.”

The Kreisers don’t let their grandkids play on the field bordering the range anymore. Now, when Tricia hears gunshots, she said the sound goes right through her.

“I don`t know that I can ignore it anymore,” she said. “Makes me feel a little different than what it did before.”

After hearing what happened, a local woman gave the Kreisers a German Shepherd-lab mix puppy, whom they named Knox.