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.