It was a miserable day in Demotte, Indiana, bitterly cold with freezing rain pelting the ground. But Dana Drew’s dogs wanted to go outside anyway, so she let them into her fenced backyard for a few minutes. It was about 5:15 p.m. on Monday, December 28. It was also last time she’d ever see her three Huskies — Storm, Lola, and Buster — alive.
A few minutes later, Drew noticed they were missing. The storm had caused erosion that allowed them to escape underneath of her gate. She went out onto her porch and smoked a cigarette, figuring her dogs would turn up soon.
Drew was so distraught about her missing dogs that she took the next day off work. She spent all day looking for them. She also posted pictures of them in various Facebook groups she belonged to, including “Lost And Found Dogs Of Indiana.”
At about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, she received a call from a couple in a nearby town. “Their daughter had been on Snap chat and a friend of her friend had posted a picture of three dead dogs on the back of a truck saying ‘this is what I come home to,’” Drew told Think Progress in an interview.
The girl told her parents about the photo and they connected the story to Drew’s post on the Facebook group. The boy was from Demotte. They sent her a screenshot of the Snapchat and Drew saw Storm, Lola, and Buster, bloody and piled on top of each other.
From there, Drew was able to use the Facebook group to identify the boy’s full name and address. She then called the DeMotte Police Department.
Soon afterward, she got a visit from De Motte Assistant Police Chief Steven Musch, who had visited the boy’s home. Musch determined her dogs were killed not by the boy but by his stepfather, Randy Wall.
Wall told the police that he shot the dogs to protect the deer that he breeds on his property, which is about a mile from Drew’s house. Allegedly the dogs were “trying to get under the fence to get to the deer.”
“Randy got on his four-wheeler and tried to chase them off and as a last resort had to shoot all three of your dogs,” Musch said, according to Drew.
Drew was stunned. “How do you shoot three dogs?… This was a dog hunt,” she told the officer.
“No ma’am, dogs kill deer,” Musch replied.
Drew told Musch that her dogs lived in a subdivision and would be terrified of deer.
“Ma’am, he had every legal right to shoot your dogs.”
When Drew asked for her dogs’ bodies, Musch reached into his car and handed her three bloody collars. Drew asked where her dogs were and Musch told her Wall “burned them.”
Drew asked Musch if he was really okay with Wall’s conduct. “Ma’am, I have two dogs. But it’s the law. And he really feels bad about it,” he said before leaving.
Drew’s account of their conversation is largely reflected in a press released that was issued by the Demotte Police Department on December 31.