Owner: Search dog 'didn't have a mean bone in his body'

IRVINE, Ky. (WKYT) The owner of a bloodhound used as a search dog for Estill County Rescue Squad says he doesn't understand why someone would kill his dog.

Photo: Waco Fire/Rescue Station #14/Facebook

The dog was found dead in the field across from Charles Collins’ home. A neighbor told police they saw him shoot the dog while it was in the road and he was in his yard.

Collins is charged with assault on a service animal and animal cruelty.

That 18-month-old bloodhound, Hunter, went missing Sunday morning when his owner and trainer let him out to use the bathroom.

"Still mind blowing to me," said David Conrad, Hunter's owner. "I can’t believe that anybody would hurt this dog. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was the most gentlest dog I’ve ever seen.

Collins' arrest citation says a neighbor told police the dog was walking down the road and Collins shot twice from his yard.

State police say Collins was read his Miranda rights and at first said he didn't want to talk then stated the dog deserved it, that it had been on his property.

Hunters trainer and owner told WKYT his death has been devastating. He said the dog wasn't just valuable to the rescue squad, but was part of his family.

The kids are taking it real bad," said Conrad. "They couldn’t even go to school today. They lost a part of them."

Officials used Hunter for searches not only in Estill County, but across the state. Conrad drove him to Grayson County each weekend for continued training.

"There was a bond there I don’t think I’ll ever get with another one," said Conrad. "The first one has the county ever had. First one I ever had. There was a bond."

Collins is being held in the Three Forks Regional Jail. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

A GoFundMe account has been set up in memory of Hunter. The money raised will help pay for training, certifications, tracking equipment and other expenses for a new search and rescue dog.

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