Red Lick man arrested and charged on two counts
By Brandon Tipton
CV&T Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Kaitlynn Darbyshire
Hunter, at right, was a young search and rescue dog in training. He went missing on Sunday, and was found shot on Monday.
Charles Collins was charged with killing the dog.
Charles Collins, 59, of Kissey Branch Road, has been arrested and charged with first degree assault of a service animal and second degree cruelty to animals. The charges came about after the shooting death of Hunter, a bloodhound and service animal who worked with Estill County rescue squad.
David Conrad, Hunter’s trainer, let the dog out for some exercise early Sunday morning, and it was the last time he saw Hunter alive.
By 9:30 a.m., Conrad had noticed Hunter was missing and began a search. The search continued well into Monday (January 7). News crews from WLEX18, covering the story, eventually discovered Hunter’s body laying by the side of Kissey Branch on Monday afternoon. It was evident he had been shot.
A nearby resident recalled seeing a strange dog earlier in the day but shooed it way from his chickens. Minutes later he said he heard gunfire.
According to a Facebook post by Conrad’s niece, Kaitlynn Darbyshire, Collins claimed that the service animal had bitten him.
According to the same post, Hunter has already been laid to rest in his favorite spot, wrapped in his favorite blanket, next to his favorite toy.
Conrad said that his five children were devastated by the loss of the dog.
The eighteen-month-old dog had been trained to search for missing persons and was receiving training to be a cadaver dog before his untimely death.