Mayes County Veteran Heartbroken After EMS Dog Shot, Killed

Wednesday, June 10th 2015, 11:26 pm
By: News On 6

A veteran said his emotional support dog accidentally got out of the yard and was shot by a neighbor.

The other neighbor said the dog threatened his cattle and he had no choice but to fire.

It's still under investigation by the Mayes County Sheriff's Office, but both sides watched it unfold and have very different stories.

The rancher who shot the dog said it was threatening his cattle and he gave his neighbor plenty of time to go get his dog. However, the veteran said he was standing near the pasture trying to get his emotional support dog and just needed more time.

Veteran Danny Cooper, with tears in his eyes, said he misses his 1-year-old emotional support dog, Marley.

"I've fallen backwards. It has absolutely messed me up," he said.

Danny suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and his therapist recommended he get an EMS dog, so he decided on the white husky.

He said Marley helped him deal with his PTSD when he got worked up.

“And he'd just put his head on my shoulder. And if I was disturbed I'd walk in the yard, he would always walk with me and stay beside me,” Danny said.

It's the memories he can hardly bear.

“To lose my baby, it's not right," Danny said.

He and his wife Hannah were outside Saturday when Marley squeezed through their fence and ran over to their next door neighbor's ranch.

The cattle rancher said, at first, he watched at a distance then made a move when Marley got too close to his cattle.

"He came out the front door with a rifle screaming at me, ‘I'm going to shoot your dog, I'm going to shoot your f'n dog. He's hurting my cattle, he was running with the cattle,'” Danny said. "I told him that is my emotional support dog. He's in training. I have PTSD."

Danny said he called Marley, but he didn't respond, and then a shot was fired.

The cattle rancher said he couldn't risk Marley hurting his livelihood and gave Danny plenty of warnings to get his dog.

Danny said losing his support dog has brought back bad memories.

"I told him let me get him and he shot him. I wanted to bring him home,” he said.

Hannah Cooper said, "If this happens to another vet, they may kill themselves.”

Deputies are still investigating but said under state law, if Marley was chasing his livestock then the rancher had every right to shoot.

Danny has one of Marley's puppies and plans to train her to become an emotional support dog to help him through this.

The rancher who shot the dog told News On 6 in a statement that his neighbor, Danny Cooper, drove onto his property while following and calling for the dog. He said he watched them for about ten minutes until the dog started chasing his cattle, including pregnant cows and newborn calves.

The rancher said Cooper “helplessly watched his dog run my cattle up and down the 20-acre pasture.”

He said he told Cooper he could pay for any damage the dog caused to the cattle, take the dog and leave or that he would shoot the dog if it continued to chase the cattle.

According to the rancher, Cooper told him he refused to pay and said he was unable to control his dog. The rancher told him he would shoot and his neighbor told him to “do what I needed to do.”

He said he fired a warning shot before shooting the dog. He said Cooper then left.