This happened about a week ago. I did call the Sheriff and lodge a complaint. They asked me if I wanted to talk to a deputy but I said that I just wanted it on file.
Then, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
Turd, this is BLM land uncluttered by leases of any sort. I've been walking my dogs up there for 30 years.
I did talk to the Game Warden, a guy I know and have seen patrolling the area. He told me that his hands were tied. He can do something about landowners harassing hunters, but I wasn't hunting. He suggested I go back to the Sheriff. We discussed the fact that, while my dogs run free, they are often at my side or a few yards away. "If he shoots at my dogs," I said, "he's essentially shooting at me."
So he suggested I go in personally to talk to the sheriff about this. He said,"they take it a lot more seriously if you do it in person."
Now, I have a good relationship with the Sheriff and deputies. I've been on Search and Rescue for almost 30 years. We coordinate with the Sheriff. I can't keep up with the young guys anymore, but I'm still an "asset." When someone goes missing, I come in and help work out the search plan. We look at the PLS (place last seen), and figure who the person or people are. Elk hunters? We get out the maps and figure where the elk would likely be. We assign fixed-wing aircraft, snowmobilers, horsemen and ground pounders. So I've worked with these guys for years. Even had a beer with some of them.
Better yet, one of my best friends is good friends with the Sheriff himself. Sheriff's on vacation with his family and we'll talk with him next week.
So I'm following the Shape plan.
We need to talk through this Tim. Just off the cuff the reasonably smart thing to do would be to immediately call the sheriff and tell him exactly what happened. Perhaps insist if he doesn't indicate he'll do it, that the sheriff contact said property owner and explain how he's in the wrong and will be arrested and prosecuted if he does anything violent towards you or your animals and his initial threat of violence/intimidation is an actionable offense as well. Just a suggestion.
Here are ideas some friends and I came up with and rapidly discarded. Go up there armed (I'm a hunter. I can shoot.) But I didn't want to take it there.
Friends said they'd back me. We'd have a dozen armed men standing just on the BLM side of his gate. Sounds fun but I don't want to go there either.
Many suggested a community dog walk. I thought it was a good idea at first. But then I thought that if the dogs ran free, some might get onto his property. He still can't legally shoot them, but ranchers around here do that all the time with no repercussions I've ever heard about. So no, nobody has to put their dog in harm's way because I'm pissed off.
The final thing I'm doing is getting the guy's name out there. He's done stuff like this before and is not well liked in the community. I want to make him a pariah. A little social media. A lot of talking around this little town of 7,000. For instance, I told my vet the story. He said, "hmm, the guy seemed OK to me." I said, "he said he was going to shoot that dog you've worked with for 10 years." The vet thought for a minute and said, "then fuck him."
This may also have an effect. A banker friend of mine said, "he's sort of a suck ass. He'd never have done that if he knew who you were." The guy married into money and bought the ranch and wants to be accepted in town. I'll make sure that doesn't happen.