James Young, Deseret News
PARK CITY — A family is still in shock after discovering that their beloved pet was shot and killed in their own backyard.
Every day for four years, Burley — a black Lab mix — was taken to a local park to play.
"The kids would take him to the park,” said Tom Weaver in tears. “They taught him how to go down the slide. He'd climb up himself and go down the tunnel slide and every time come down with a big smile on his face.”
Around 4:15 p.m. Monday, the Weavers' 13-year-old daughter let Burley out into their fenced backyard in the lower Pinebrook area near Park City.
"I came home at 5:30, and he still wasn't inside and came out here and found him laying on the ground right over here not moving on the dirt down here," Weaver said.
Burley had been dead for less than an hour. The family took Burley to the vet. X-rays showed he had been shot with a pellet gun.
"There's one, two, three, four (pellets)," he said, pointing at an X-ray.
Burley had been shot in the chest, abdomen and back.
"We are in a neighborhood, a fenced-in neighborhood. You don't expect somebody to have shot your dog," Sherry Weaver said.
The family is devastated. "It feels empty," she said.
"He'd live his life with us for another 10 years, but someone took that from us," Tom Weaver said.
Not knowing who shot the dog is what scares the family. Summit County Animal Control Director Brian Bellamy understands their fear.
"I'm sure somebody somewhere has heard something and knows something," he said.
Three investigators are working on the case. They're checking with sporting goods stores to see if anyone has recently purchased pellet guns or pellets. They're also talking with the community and asking for help. Neighbors have already volunteered.
"I'm going to use this as an example with my kids to show them that there is bad in the world and they're never going to get around that, but there's still a lot more good than there is bad," said Sherry Weaver.
And Burley, a 4-year-old dog they rescued from a shelter, is their reminder.
"We're going to miss him," Tom Weaver said.
Neighbors and the family will be hanging up fliers to help find the assailant.
The Humane Society of Utah is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individual or individuals involved in the shooting death of Burley.
Anyone with information is urged to call Summit County Animal Control at 435-336-3247.
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