Thursday, October 27 , 2016, 5:19 am | Fair 55º


Local News

Santa Barbara Man Mourns Shooting Death of Dog by Hunters

Ian Malloch shares his story about a hike on the Santa Cruz Trail as a cautionary tale for others who venture into the area with pets or children

Most days, Billy — a sweet, rescued mutt — would lie peacefully and protectively on the floor beside the 3-month-old son of his Santa Barbara owner.

That part of the daily routine has become no more, since the medium-sized, 45-pound dog was shot and killed earlier this month by hunters who told authorities they mistook the unleashed terrier for a wild dog on the Santa Cruz Trail in Los Padres National Forest.

Billy’s owner, 32-year-old Ian Malloch, shared his story as a cautionary tale for others who use the trail so they’re not also stunned and crushed by such a tragic outcome.

“It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever gone through,” Malloch said. “I was definitely emotional. I loved that dog. Everybody loved him. I think most people would see it as a shock.”

The incident unfolded on the morning of Jan. 15. Malloch jogged up a trail while his two dogs — Billy and Macaroni, a 65-pound German wire-haired pointer — ran a short distance ahead of him.

When the dogs went out of view around a bend near the Nineteen Oaks area, Malloch heard barking, followed by a male voice yelling “Yo!” and then a gunshot.

Malloch turned the corner and found that Billy had been shot in the head with a rifle by a hunter who believed he had “no other choice” because potential “wild dogs” were charging him, according to a report filed with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The two young hunters from the Los Angeles area, both weighing more than 200 pounds each, were out for pig season with legal gun permits and hunting licenses, the report said.

Billy, a 45-pound mixed terrier was shot and killed in Los Padres National Forest earlier this month by hunters who told authorities they mistook the unleashed terrier for a wild dog. No charges were filed. (Ian Malloch photo)
Billy was shot and killed in the Los Padres National Forest earlier this month by hunters who told authorities they mistook the unleashed terrier for a wild dog. No charges were filed. (Ian Malloch photo)

Authorities declined to press charges because their actions were legal, said Andrew Madsen, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.

“It’s just so tragic and unfortunate,” said Madsen, a fellow dog owner and self-proclaimed canine lover. “There wasn’t any negligence. Unfortunately, sometimes these things happen.

“Dogs should be on a leash. It’s an opportunity to share that safety message.”

Malloch told Noozhawk that he knows the shooting was legal, but he doesn’t understand why the hunters could find no other way to deal with a dog that clearly was wearing a collar.

“I just think their actions weren’t justified,” he said. “They said it was a large dog, and they attacked these guys. You kind of need to see what the dog looked like. It’s just sad.”

After Malloch carried his bleeding, dying dog the couple of miles down the trail, animal control arrived to take the small body to the Santa Barbara County Humane Society to be cremated.

Now, the ashes of Billy, who was part of Malloch’s family of three since he was rescued in 2007, are buried among the hills he used to love running through.

“There’s nothing we can do to bring him back,” said Malloch, who estimated Billy was 7 or 8 years old. “People need to know that people are back there with guns, just to be careful when you’re back there with your kids or dogs. Be aware that people are allowed to hunt back there year-round. It is sad that it ended the way it did.

“He was always the first one in my bed to cuddle with me,” Malloch continued, clearly upset. “We used to joke that he was a Mongolian mountain terrier because he loved running around the mountains. He was a friendly dog.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >