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Family distraught after dog shot by hunter near Pine Island

Arie, an Alaskan Malamute, was let out early Saturday morning then found in a ravine Sunday.

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Bethany McCain and her daughter, Aubrey McCain, pose with Arie, their Alaskan Malamute. The 4-year-old dog was shot and killed by a hunter Saturday. Contributed photo / Bethany McCain

PINE ISLAND — A New Haven Township family is reeling with the loss of their dog, which was shot Saturday by a hunter.

Bethany McCain said her husband, Jaimie McCain, found the dog, an Alaskan Malamute named Arie, Sunday morning after the dog had been let out about 7:30 Saturday morning.

"She wandered into woods like she usually does," Bethany McCain said. "We have 12 acres on a long, rectangular lot. He found her two properties down."

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From how Arie was found, McCain said, it is clear she'd been dragged into a ravine from where she'd been shot nearby. About 15 yards from the spot where the blood trail started, McCain said, was a hunting stand.

"The hunter saw her judging by where he shot her," McCain said.

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Arie, a 4-year-old Alaskan Malamute, is shown with Aubrey McCain in this undated photo. The 4-year-old dog was shot and killed by a hunter Saturday. Contributed photo / Bethany McCain

Capt. James Schueller of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office said investigators and Department of Natural Resources officers are working on the case.

Schueller said deputies were dispatched to the McCain's home in the 8700 block of 85th Street Northwest in New Haven Township for an animal complaint. There, deputies saw where the dog had been shot and then dragged to a ravine at a property two addresses down from where the dog's owners live.

"The DNR or the county will be following up on the case," Schueller said. "Not sure if it’s a DNR, criminal or civil violation."

Schueller said a criminal violation would likely be a statute of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor charge.

No charges have been filed, but Schueller said law enforcement knows who the shooter was.

McCain said she and her husband began to worry when Arie did not come home after being let out Saturday. Her husband called for the dog and eventually they began searching the area, even putting up posters and enlisting help from neighbors.

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"Around here, everyone has dogs, and everyone knows Arie," McCain said. "We had everyone looking in blaze orange for her. We made fliers and posters."

Late Saturday, McCain said her husband spotted some blood in the field and hoped it was from a deer. The next morning, he returned and found Arie nearby, her bright blue collar pulled up around her head as if she'd been dragged.

"We brought her home and buried her," McCain said. "The sheriff's deputy agreed the hunter should have seen it was a dog."

In addition to the collar, Arie often wore an orange bandana, but wasn't wearing it that morning because it was dirty and being washed.

"It’s been a bit of a nightmare," McCain said. "It’s been a living hell."

The family has had Arie, who was 4 years old, since she was a puppy. McCain said the dog was gentle and greeted everyone by looking for hugs and attention. As beautiful as the dog was, McCain said she had an even better personality.

Now, she's concerned for her children playing on their property.

"We have kids, and our kids are always running around with their cousins, but we don’t let them in the woods during gun season," McCain said. "I’m so angry. She was the most loving and kind dog."

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