Pepe, a 3-year-old Boxer Bull Terrier Mix, is expecting to make a full recovery after being shot by a stranger while hiking on the Windsor Lake Trail in Colorado.

"He was going for the kill shot," said owner Kelly Murray as she recalled the shooting.

Murray had been hiking last Thursday when the incident occurred. As Pepe was off-leash, Murray claims another hiker descended toward the two on the trail and threatened to shoot her dog if it wasn't put on a leash. With leash in-hand, Murray called for Pepe but was seconds late. The unknown man opened fired on the trail, striking Pepe in the shoulder. 

"I told you I was going to shoot your dog as he kind of laughed," said Murray. "I really felt like he was going to shoot me next."

Murray rushed off the trail with Pepe able to follow on his own accord. She then took Pepe to a nearby veterinarian's office. The wound to Pepe's shoulder required about four stitches and the point of the bullet exit to his leg required another 15.

"Oh my god. That's pretty much all I remember, then I blacked out as my flight for life kicked in," describes Murray who immediately fled from the trail in fear of her own safety.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the situation, but no arrest of a suspect has been announced.

While Pepe is expected to make a full recovery, the hard part is now keeping him calm, according to Murray. Murray wanted to share her story with our readers in hopes of preventing a similar situation from occurring.

Windsor Lake Trail is a 1.1-mile trail located in Mount Massive Wilderness. The trailhead can be reached from the Hagerman Pass Road. It's a short and strenuous trek, with an elevation gain of nearly 1,000 feet. Leadville is the closest town. Dogs are allowed to use the trail but must be leashed.

Several other hikers have reported similar encounters. One woman claims she was approached by an aggressive man while hiking with her children and dog. The man reportedly threatened to shoot her dog but backed down once it was leashed. There was a similar incident reported at Summit Lake. It's unclear if these incidents are related.

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.

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(31) comments

r1rice

I rarely comment. I hike alot on public lands away from urban areas. I have been; bitten, nipped at, charged, knocked to the ground while carrying a toddler, slimed with mud after being jumped on by a super muddy dog and threatened bodily injury. All by dogs off leash in leash required areas. I have seen dogs chase wildlife, and watched as a dog ran into the brush while owner screamed come back fido, only to have the dog come back a few minutes later with a bird in its mouth- in a wilderness area. One person said to me "its great to see him run!" - Chasing Ptarmigan above tree line.

I am a woman barely 5ft tall. When I pointed out to each dog owner that they were in an area that required a leash, I was met with incredible hostility, no apologies- the guy who threatened me was in a National Park!!

It is ridiculous entitlement to make any excuses for breaking the law! Your pet may be part of your family, but you the owner are responsible for making sure your pet is in compliance with the law.

As another commenter said,

This person knowingly broke the rules. She is now sharing her story to "prevent" this from happening to others. She could have prevented this entire thing by simply having her dog on leash. It's that simple.

Cut the bullshit respect other people and the law. This is what people resort to when law is blatantly disregard on trails.

tag soup

I have a dog, I take my dog for walks, and I obey leash laws.

A pitbull is a dog bred for fighting, a pitbull is the most common dog that attacks people. Dogs and hikers have caused a severe strain on wildlife throughout colorado. Might well be time to get rid of dogs in Wilderness.

CO_Proud

If I come across this man, and he makes an attempt to threaten me with or my dog with a gun, I can PROMISE he won’t be left standing.

In the meantime, J can only hope that law enforcement fund him and puts him away, before someone takes matters into their own hands.

Howard A

I rarely join these discussions, but this hits home. I live in Salida, and am NOT a dog lover, however I'd never hurt an animal. As an avid biker, I use the trails often used by dog walkers.. While many are responsible, many are not. We have a $70 dollar leash law here, although loosely enforced. I got a ticket on my bike for rolling a stop sign before I see dog violators get a ticket. I can understand the frustration of the shooter, who, btw, could have easily taken the dog down, but their actions are too selfish, and an official should have been notified instead. Dog non-lovers have enough anxiety about dogs, we don't know if "Fido" is friendly or not, and as much as you people "personalize" your dogs, they are still unpredictable, and a leash, like a mask today, protects everyone. While I'm at it, the other thing that grinds my gears, some pick up the waste in a bag,,AND LEAVE THE BAG!!! Come on,,

leigh22

I agree with you!! And I am both a gun owner and a dog owner. Many miles of hiking tells me half the dog owners are self enamored and beneath common decency.

strmraisr

I hope the guy is charged. But that doesnt mean I think the woman is right or even telling the truth. People constantly violate leash laws up in the hills with no form of control whatsoever. The majority of dogs off leash wont even come when called and the owner is usually behind the dog by more than several yards. Ive had dog owners argue with me that the wildlife their dogs were chasing 30 yards offtrail could just run away rather than controlling their animals. If you dont want to use a leash at least train your dog and yourself. Its not a dogpark even when its leash optional. You must have some form of control over your dog or it might get hurt by a nut like this, or other means. Ive seen em eat dead squirrels in one gulp before the owner even noticed. If youre not watching them anything can happen. Youre not loving your dog more by letting it run wild. It just shows you really dont care what happens to it. Again short of self defense the firearm was wrong but I think if he was going for a kill shot, why did he not take it? I think the woman is as dramatic as the guy is nuts.

CoYo

As a dog owner and a gun owner, I do NOT condone the gun owner's behavior in the least.

I think I know this guy. Don't know his name, but if he was an older guy he has accosted me in an off-leash area where he threatened to kill my dog if it approached. I calmly told him that if he tried, I would put him in the hospital within an inch of his life, with my bare hands. He immediately saw that I was not joking.

The perpetrator of this crime should be arrested and tried for illegal use of a firearm, reckless endangerment, assault, and animal abuse.

yourxavia

Yes!!!

Native

Most off leash dogs I encounter on the trail are well-behaved. Shooting a dog is not an appropriate response to the owner violating a leash law. However, an individual carrying a gun and ready to shoot at the slightest provocation is worrisome. What about hikers who litter, or cut a switchback? Are they also subject to such vigilante justice? When did we lose the capability of settling our differences without the use of violence?

CoYo

Not only that, with the number of people who carry here in Colorado, this a$$hole is going to end up dead when he tries to shoot someone else's dog.

kkh369

What do you know about the "slightest provocation"? I am also for non-violence. But...if someone's dog is going to attack you, are you still advocating for "settling our differences without violence"? We only have her side. Of course she's going to say her dog is gentle. But what we DO know is she already put herself above the rules. That immediately makes what she has to say completely suspect. Someone's dog comes up and acts like it's going to attack me? It may get shot too. This woman's arrogance is to blame. Put your dog on a leash as required. Problem solved.

CoYo

Clearly, if the dog is attacking, the only difference to settle is with the dog, and you do what you need to do to make that attack stop. That level of response should be dictated by the level of danger - if the dog is a 150lb St Bernard or a 90lb Pit Bull, then you may need to fight back with deadly force. If it's a 30lb Boston Terrier / Boxer mix, a punch or a kick will do the job. If it's a teacup yorkie, just shake your leg and flick your ankle, or grab it by the scruff and hand it back to the owner. Most owners would be mortified if their dog attacked someone unprovoked.

But that is not what was presented in this story. In this story there isn't even the threat of an attack. If this story is true, then the reaction was utterly unjustified and neither the dog nor the hiker brought it on themselves, even if there was a volley of F-bombs and epithets back and forth beforehand. Both were in the wrong, but the magnitude of the response to the first wrong is vastly out of proportion.

Two wrongs something something, and no, "but she did a wrong first" is not a valid argument, even when you're six years old. Unfortunately we as a society seem to be forgetting that.

yourxavia

Outthere removed a bunch of previous comments, including several that condoned violence against animals on the basis of violated leash laws. Let's not forget that threateningly brandishing a weapon and committing animal cruelty are far greater crimes than having a dog off leash. I hope the man is found and charged. He sounds like a sick individual who would absolutely commit violence against a person eventually.

bjenkins

What crime did he commit? And how is it within the bounds of the comment rules to make such a claim about him "absolutely" committing violence? This story doesn't even include his account.

yourxavia

You didn't read before commenting?

1. Brandishing

2. Animal cruelty

Both are worse than a leash law violation.

My comment assumes that the victim is telling the truth.

bjenkins

"My comment assumes that the victim is telling the truth." <--- exactly.

yourxavia

You didn't read my comment before replying? Brandishing and animal cruelty are the crimes. I'm sure you could add on a few more. A sentence that starts with "he sounds like" isn't a claim.

bjenkins

I posted a comment but it seems not to have been approved? As someone who has been on the other end of a supposedly friendly dog, I don't blame this man for his response. Nor do I believe the woman about how this incident went down. She knowingly broke the rules. She is now sharing her story to "prevent" this from happening to others. She could have prevented this entire thing by simply having her dog on leash. It's that simple. She seems, along with other dog owners, to have no realization that her dog is as scary as that gun was to her. Dogs can severely injure people. Dogs are also a menace to the wildlife when they are off leash. If you love nature and if you love your dog, then keep your dog on leash when it is required. Otherwise you are selfishly breaking the rules so you and your dog can ruin nature and endanger others. You are also selfishly putting your own dog's life at risk, as this story demonstrates.

CoYo

You are dead wrong. The appropriate response to this situation is to advise the person that there's a leash law. I, personally have done the old, "hey, there's a ranger up ahead who just wrote someone a ticket for an off-leash dog...I think they're doing an enforcement push or something." Never fails.

Throwing down like you're Curly Bill is only going to get YOU shot when someone returns fire who's better than you.

I've seen this guy, and I didn't need to go heels to get the bulge on a tub like him, but I'll tell you what, you jerk your smoke wagon and light 'er up in my general direction, I'm going to take it personally, and I won't miss.

kkh369

Absolutely. I am a dog owner. I am also a gun owner. I can keep my dog on a leash where it is required. Why cant she? What if her dog was being aggressive? Is he supposed to let himself get attacked because she thinks she's above the rules? She brought all this on herself and now she's crying "foul".

CoYo

I'm sorry, no, she absolutely did NOT bring on the reckless discharge of a firearm by not keeping her dog on a leash. NOBODY brings violence upon themselves unless they commit violence first. Period.

There are vast number of ways the shooter could have very constructively conveyed his displeasure with the situation and achieved a satisfactory resolution.

This guy is either going to get shot himself when he threatens the wrong hiker, or he's going to injure or kill someone on the trail. Either way, she deserves a ticket, and he deserves to go to jail.

CO_Proud

Please tell me two statistics, and if you don’t, then your contribution is essentially worthless.

1) how many deaths occur from guns.

2) how many deaths occur from dogs.

One you look at the ratio of 1,000,000 to 1, you’ll look ridiculous. Dogs are family and you threaten my family, be prepared to die from that threat.

Retired2Hunt

I totally agree, I do not condone the hand gun owners actions. However, It is far less than 50% of dog owners that keep their animal on leash on the hiking trails. And the same amount do not pick up after their pet craps on the trail AS REQUIRED - or better yet they leave it in a plastic bag on the trail for later - yah right you will pick it up later. And most do not have the required license to be on State property. I feel for the dog, but call the owner 50% responsible here. Maybe others can learn from this.

MickManly

While I absolutely do not condone this man's actions, I do feel that at LEAST 50% of dog owners do not follow leash laws on mountain trails and in city parks. Leash your dog or don't bring them out, period.

Pintail

As a hiker I find it upsetting and unfair that many if not most dog owners feel they and their pets don't have to follow the rules--they seem to think the rules don't apply to them because they see their pets as basically humans also. We always have our lab Ruby on a leash when it's the rule. Other doga are running all over the place chasing any live critter they see--their owners thing this is quite funny as Fluffy is after every chipmonk or deer it runs across--of cousrse this pervents many other people from enjoying the wildlife and the quiteness for which we are hiking in the first place. i have politely asked people---"this is a leash on trail ==would you please mind putting your dog on a leash?"--To which th response is usually something like---Oh, are you the leash police--all the way to FU AH.....most people these days are not polite and think the rules simply don't apply to them. All the same I wouldn't shot someone's pet over this but why don't people just follow the darn rules??

CoYo

"Hey, just to let you know, there's a ranger up/back there and they just wrote someone else a $50 ticket for their dog being off leash...I think they're doing an enforcement push or something...."

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

CoYo

So you know what to say? "Hey, there's a range out today and they just wrote someone a ticket for an off leash dog...I think there's an enforcement push right now or something..."

Really easy to not be a d*ck and still get the message across.

Beevis

uhhhhhh huhhhhhhh huhhhhhhh! uhhhhhhh!

kkh369

Why should he have to LIE to get someone to act responsibly? You know what else is easy peasy? Put your dog on a leash where required. I do it all the time. I'm not condoning shooting the dog, but for all we know the dog was acting aggressively. In that case, I may shoot too. I'm not letting some dog attack me, my family OR my dog. We only have her side. She was in the wrong. This whole situation could have been avoided if this arrogant woman would have just followed the rules instead of thinking she was above them. 🤷🏻‍♀️

CoYo

Who cares if you have to lie in that situation if it allows both parties to go on their way, if not happily then at least amicably? Most people want to be good citizens, despite the news that floods our media every day. Most times people thank me, hurriedly put their dog on the leash, and go on. Some have asked where the ranger is, so I'll tell them he/she was up ahead going the same direction so I don't know how far they'll be.

Her infraction is at best a (real) ticket from a ranger. Last time I actually saw a ranger write a ticket for an unleashed dog, after asking the owner to leash their dog twice, it was $50. His is at least one misdemeanor and one felony in the state of Colorado. There is no situation where it is acceptable to shoot a dog simply because it is not on a leash. Furthermore, in this case, it's a f*cking Boston Terrier mix, not a Belgian Malinois or a Pit Bull. This guy surely outweighed the dog by over a hundred pounds and probably could have punted it like a football if he wanted to.

Sure, this is one side of the story, but as presented, it is an example of a vast overreaction to a minor and impersonal offense at best. If it's fake, then this dog owner with an anti-gun agenda will quickly realize that she didn't think her cunning plan all the way through. If she threatened to sic balls on the gun owner because he first asked politely and then they got into a verbal altercation, and the gun owner legitimately defended himself from a dog attack, then she has to live with her lie.

But based on the description in the article I'm inclined to believe her because I've had a similar encounter with someone much like this, several years ago in an area where dogs are allowed off leash - only without a firearm involved.

True or false, here we have people in the Internet advocating for shooting a dog simply because it was off leash and blaming violence, which was the gun owner's choice and no one else's, on the target of the violence.

leigh22

Exactly..Why do a dance for someone who is blatantly thumbing their nose at the rules? I always leash my dog and pick up his waste. In 2018 I lived in a community where people ignored those rules. I complained to management and got no response. Then one day two hunting dogs, .never on leashes, saw my dog and i, and charged. Their owner was screaming, but they ignored her. My dog wasn't hurt, thank God, but the effort it took to keep two loose dogs away from my own has affected my spine. I'm a speed walker and the quality of life has never been the same. I wasn't packing that day, but I do now.

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