The Butte family’s husky shooting with a .22 caliber rifle in a residential area | Local

I can’t remember a time in my childhood when a dog didn’t reign over the perch in the Thornton house. They weren’t just pets, they were part of the family.

More than a few tears flowed this weekend as I read an article on a local social media page about a husky shot in Butte. The job bugged me for the rest of the weekend.






Bill Willis sits with his beloved dog, Kenai, who was shot dead last Saturday near his home in Butte.


Tracy thornton



“Who would shoot a dog?” I kept wondering.

On Monday morning, I decided to get in touch with the dog’s owners, Bill and Sherlyn Willis, who are in the process of moving to Butte and renovating their new home on Trenton Street.

It was not a “welcome to Butte” that a family needed.

I had to know the whole story and, more importantly, ask the difficult question, “Was Kenai going to be okay?” “

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our whole lives,” wildlife photographer and wildlife activist Roger Caras once said. To the Willis family, their two dogs, Kenai, a husky, and Jaako, a golden retriever, make their living. The two canines are not pets, they are beloved members of the family.

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Last Saturday, the unspeakable, from start to finish, took less than 10 minutes.

In the midst of the move and renovation, Sherlyn and her two sons, Riggs and Rider, had come to Butte to unpack some of their belongings. Bill was buying hardwood floors.

While unloading, Sherlyn didn’t fully close the side door and both dogs managed a break and made their way to the fields and beyond.

“Me and the boys went to call them right away,” Sherlyn explained. “Only Jaako has returned.”

Sherlyn suspected Kenai was heading for a nearby cove. As her sons continued to search for Kenai, she opened the side door fully so the husky could easily enter.

Unfortunately, Kenai was already back. As Sherlyn turned towards the house, the husky, completely wet, was lying on its right side near the garage. Instantly, she knew something was wrong.

“He didn’t want to look at me or wag his tail,” Sherlyn recalls. “He couldn’t even lift his head.

After calling Bill to explain the situation to him, Sherlyn took Kenai to a local vet. The husky then spent one night at a facility in Missoula, where he was able to be watched throughout the night.

The diagnosis – blunt trauma to his body and a .22 caliber bullet to his chest.

Kenai was able to return home with the bullet still lodged inside, but the couple fear losing it. Bill said the lethargic Kenai was on his way to Bozeman on Tuesday afternoon for surgery following complications.

According to the online site The Spruce Pets, huskies are a high-energy breed that loves to run.

Bill couldn’t agree more. “Huskies love to run,” he said, “and Kenai is no exception.”

Spruce Pets also pointed out that huskies are very friendly.

“Anyone looking for a husky watchdog will be very disappointed,” the site said, “because huskies are just too friendly and trust strangers too much.”

Yes, Kenai is friendly and loves to walk around.

Bill can count the number of times his husky has given up on one hand. Despite their success rate, the family does not take any risks. So much so that a leash is necessary even to take Kenai from the car to the house. Otherwise, he would have run away.

Diligence is a small price the couple are willing to pay.

Now Bill stays close to Kenai, who sits casually near his feet. He doesn’t understand why someone would have shot his beloved dog.

“I went door to door asking if anyone had seen anything,” Bill said, “but I was unlucky. “

The couple did not contact local law enforcement. “What could they do? Said Bill. “We have no idea who did it.”

Bill hopes this is an isolated incident but takes no chances. Since the shooting, he has had cameras installed, including remotely. He wants to keep his dogs safe.

He also hopes that if people have a problem with his dogs, they will come and talk to him.

“You are talking with the person,” he said. “You don’t shoot their dog.”

A native of Butte, Bill left in 1984 but is happy to be back anyway. Sherlyn is also thrilled with the move.

“We’re happy to be here,” said Bill, “despite a bad neighbor. “

As for the “bad neighbor”, if caught, he could be fined for using a gun in a residential area and also be charged with animal cruelty.

Hopefully Kenai doesn’t pay the ultimate price. Keep him and the Willis family in your thoughts.


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