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Whitehall man charged in dog shooting, dog making a full recovery

Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 20:28:57-05

VIRGINIA CITY — Sapphire, a 7-pound mini poodle, had been lost for two days off Parrot Ditch Road near Whitehall. When the dog’s owners finally found her wandering in an open field, something terrible happened. A man in a pickup truck shot her.

“You just feel kind of shocked when she makes it through two days and you find her and she’s heading towards our car and she gets shot. it’s just—I don’t know, it feels like a bad dream,” said Tori Anderson, Sapphire’s owner and a dog breeder from Manhattan.

Brian Powers of Whitehall faces misdemeanor charges of firing from a road and animal cruelty in connection with shooting Sapphire the morning of March 4. During his hearing, he claimed he thought he shot a coyote.

The dog had been shot in the hind leg and its owners were able to get her to Sorensen Veterinary Hospital in Belgrade. Sapphire survived, but her leg had to be amputated.

Anderson, who attended Powers’ court hearing in Virginia City, can’t understand why someone would shoot her dog.

“I don’t feel like there’s any excuse. I’m a hunter myself, but you have to be responsible with your weapons, you know. If you think that’s a coyote, I mean, he could have been shooting a kid. I’m just shocked,” said Anderson.

Despite losing a leg, Sapphire is making a full recovery and appears to be a happy pooch.

“She seems just fine, she cruises around with her other little buddies, yeah, eating well, drinking well and enjoying life,” Anderson said.

While this may be a misdemeanor, to Anderson this is a very serious offense and she hopes justice is done in this case to discourage other people from doing the same thing.

“I wouldn’t want this to happen to somebody else, and so I think consequences need to be had and lessons need to be learned so that this doesn’t happen again to somebody else,” said Anderson.

Powers has pleaded not guilty to both charges and is free on his own recognizance.