TOOELE, Utah – The owner of a female husky faces a slew of charges after the dog allegedly killed more than two dozen animals in the backyards of at least two Utah homes in just a couple of hours, according to KSTU.
Police caught the culprit – a 4-year old husky – and now her owner is facing nearly 30 misdemeanor charges.
One of the Tooele residents who lost several animals, Trip Kiss, runs a petting zoo with his wife to teach animal husbandry to children with disabilities. Chickens, ducks, peacocks, a turkey and a tortoise, are just a few of the zoo's residents.
In the early morning hours of Memorial Day, he said his motion sensors went off. When Kiss looked at the surveillance video, it showed a husky running around his yard and driveway. He said the husky was targeting his animals.
"He was chewing our goose that was at the back end there, he dug out the rabbits in their enclosure," Kiss explained.
In the video, Kiss said the Husky can be seen carrying away two rabbits. It trots out of the camera's view and into the dark.
When Kiss realized what was happening, he said the husky had already killed several of his animals.
"Two rabbits, two ducks, five chickens, a turkey, a goose," Kiss said.
He said the goose was specially trained.
"The goose was so friendly," Kiss said. "It would follow us around at Renaissance fairs, charities."
Kiss said the husky took the animals and scattered them in a two-block radius around his home. He spotted the husky in his neighborhood with one of his chickens still alive in the dog's mouth.
"The dog continued to chew on it, and it died in the dog's mouth, and he dropped it," Kiss said.
He called police, and Tooele Police Sergeant Jeremy Hansen said they found out Kiss wasn't the only animal owner affected.
"A second lady from a couple houses down came and told the officers that 15 of her chickens had also been killed by the same animal," Sgt. Hansen said.
It took a couple of hours, but they finally caught the husky and brought her to the shelter to contact the owner.
Mackenzie Morton said she got the call from the shelter to explain they had her 4-year old husky, Nikita.
Morton said Nikita went missing from her boyfriend's home, which isn't far from Kiss' house.
"I didn't know where she went, because it was dark at night," Morton explained.
She said she looked for Nikita, and came across a few dead chickens in a neighbor's yard.
Nikita took off from there, Morton said, and she couldn't find her after that. Morton said she didn't want to wake the neighbors, so she kept the door cracked open at the house for Nikita to return.
"I didn't think she was going to go on a killing spree," Morton told KSTU. "I did not know that, at all."
She said what Nikita did left her in shock because her husky hasn't acted like that before.
Morton is now offering an apology to the homeowners.
"That's not fair," Morton said, getting choked up. "And I'm so sorry."
For Kiss, he said he isn't mad at the dog. He explained that he's more upset that more wasn't done to catch the husky when she escaped or to alert the neighbors to the dead chickens right away.
"I feel anger," Kiss said. "I feel anger toward the owner, because she could have prevented this."
Sgt. Hansen said the officer cited Morton with 27 counts of misdemeanor attacking animals and one count of misdemeanor animal running at large.
He said the city attorney is screening the case for the final charges.
Nikita is in quarantine at the animal shelter. Sgt. Hansen said after the 10-day quarantine is up, an administrative hearing will determine what to do with the husky.