Help pours in to owner of slain dog |

Help pours in to owner of slain dog

Dustin Racioppi
Vail Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted photoCrowley, a chocolate Lab, was killed earlier this month near Edwards' Lake Creek Trail by a Wisconsin hunter. Help is pouring in to Dave Perron, the owner of the dog.

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Dave Perron of Edwards, Colorado, isn’t sure what he’s experienced over the last week could happen many other places in the world.

After his best friend Crowley, a 2 1/2-year-old chocolate Labrador, was shot and killed by an out-of-state hunter while taking a hike with Perron’s roommate in West Lake Creek on Nov. 5, condolences, help and all-around kindness has flooded into his life.

At Steve’s Dog and Cat Repair, where Crowley was taken after being shot, employees were bombarded with phone calls, flowers and cards expressing their condolences.

A member of the hunting and wildlife conservation group Safari Club International offered to assist by donating funds to purchase a memorial plaque for Crowley with a warning to visitors and hunters on it.

When Perron, a musician, performed at a local club the other night, he said about 20 random people approached him to tell him they were sorry for what happened.

He’s received “a million e-mails and text messages” from perfect strangers. A local lawyer will represent him for free in a pending civil suit against the hunter.

“Crowley was pretty popular, apparently. It’s overwhelming,” Perron, 32, said. “The community has been over the top, just great.”

It’s not quite what he imagined in the moments after landing in Miami from a vacation. It was there, on a six-hour layover to Denver, he found out his beloved dog had been hiking on the Edwards-area trail with his roommate, Nathan Schroepfer, and was shot and killed by Lee Jensen of Wisconsin.

Jensen now faces charges of criminal mischief and recklessly discharging a firearm, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Explaining the close-range shot, he told deputies he feared for his life when he saw Crowley.

Of course, Perron wants justice. It was all he really asked for upon hearing the news. Everything else has been a bonus.

“It’s been miserable,” he said of living without Crowley, but added “it’s as good as it could be.”

Leonard, the new black Labrador he adopted, is helping. And next week, when he picks up Crowley’s nephew Jack, Perron will be able to ease the pain a bit by seeing a family face.

One thing both Perron and Schroepfer want people to know is they have to be safe out on the trails or in the woods.

“It’s such a waste, and it didn’t have to happen,” Perron said.

There aren’t any warning signs on the trail where Crowley was shot, so Humane Society Director Char Quinn echoed the friends’ request.

“It is really important for people to use caution when hunting season is around with their dogs,” she said, “because some people are pretty trigger happy.”

What happened to Crowley also hit the hunting community.

Bruce Hutcheon of Safari Club International heard the news from a friend and immediately tried contacting Perron to offer help. He, like Perron and Schroepfer, can’t fathom how and why what happened to Crowley did happen.

“It’s just inconceivable. It doesn’t make sense,” Hutcheon, of Colorado Springs, said. “We care about our hunting heritage. We care about the mountains. And we definitely care about a poor guy who lost his dog.”

Hutcheon, who has since been in touch with Perron, said he’ll take a request back to the club to help pay for a memorial for Crowley.

Even though losing Crowley was one of the worst things that could have happened to him, Perron said that like everything else in life, he’s getting through it. But he couldn’t without the people in the community ” neighbors, friends, family and strangers, he said.

“I don’t think it would happen many places like this, with the support,” he said. “It’s really appreciated.”

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