A pet dog running off leash was recently killed by a bowhunter on opening day in Colorado. The dog was under the care of Bellyache resident Stephen Katz when the incident occurred on private property owned by the Jouflas family. The 7-year-old Portuguese water dog, owned by Vail resident Jen Mason, ran out of Katz’s sight when it was shot with an arrow.
Henry Jouflas, 24, shot the lethal arrow. He told officers that he was hunting from a tree stand on his family’s property when he noticed two dogs run over a hill chasing the herd of deer he was watching.
According to the police report, Henry assumed that the dogs were loose and out of control because he didn’t recognize them or see any other person. He was also hunting on his family-owned private property. Henry claimed that one of the two dogs stopped, so he “put it down, to stop it from further harassing the wildlife.”
The Jouflas property sits adjacent to a tract of Bureau of Land Management land and trespassers have been a problem for decades, the family said.
Katz claimed he received bad information and thought it was OK to be in the area jogging with the two dogs. The trail on the BLM property ends at the Jouflas border, marked by barbed wire and no trespassing signs. Katz went off trail and didn’t notice the signs when he crossed over the barbed wire. Further ahead he climbed over another fence, this time to follow his dogs, which had slipped under the barbed wire in front of him.
“The area is fenced and clearly marked with no trespassing signs,” landowner Greg Jouflas told the Vail Daily.
James Jouflas, Henry’s father, believed Katz had to know that he was trespassing and wanted him cited as such. Police cited Katz for trespassing, but he intends to pursue what he believes was the wrongful death of the dog in civil court.
Greg, Henry’s uncle, countered by reiterating the law in Colorado: the dog was guilty of chasing wildlife on private property and the death was within the legal limits. “That has been the law in Colorado for many, many years,” Greg told the Vail Daily. “That dog could have easily killed that fawn if he caught it.”
Greg also said that if Katz was present with the dog, the killing would not have occurred. Katz came onto the scene a few moments after the dog was shot and a heated discussion between him and Henry ensued.
“Henry confronted Stephen, notifying him he was on private property and told him he had killed the dog,” the report said. “A verbal argument took place between Henry and Stephen. Henry stated that Stephen threatened him but understood emotions were high because of the deceased dog.”
A report was filed, but later that day Katz contacted officers to say that Henry had pointed his “crossbow” at him during the confrontation.
“Later in the afternoon, Stephen contacted me by telephone,” Deputy Brandon Bernard wrote in the report. “Stephen told me that Henry physically pointed the ‘crossbow’ at him. I advised Stephen that he was changing his story and that he had shown me how the crossbow was held and gave no indication that he had been threatened before. Stephen began to argue hypotheticals with me about what if Henry did point the weapon at him and inquired about what Henry could be charged with.”
Henry denied pointing the weapon at Katz and no charges followed. His uncle added that the weapon in question was not in fact a crossbow and that his nephew doesn’t even own a crossbow, which would be illegal to use during bow hunting season in Colorado.