The Peterson family left for the Fourth of July weekend to go camping.
They packed everything they needed, but left their dogs at their Lockwood home, where they had a family member and a neighbor looking after the dogs.
They checked on the dogs every hour. Cory Peterson said his mother last checked at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 5.
As the Petersons came into cell reception on their return home Sunday, they received a message from a neighbor saying their dog Zeus was laying in their yard, not moving.
Zeus was dead.
“It didn’t add up,” Cory Peterson said. “How could he just die? He was healthy and had plenty of food and water.”
When the family arrived home on Sunday, Peterson planned to bury Zeus. He noticed the dog’s body was riddled with small holes. Peterson suspected it was from a gunshot.
He called the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s office and filed a report. But with no witnesses and little evidence, not much can be done. It was, however, concluded that the dog was shot with a shotgun.
But the Petersons aren’t ready to give up on discovering who killed their dog. They are offering a $2,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in Zeus’s death. Peterson said members of the community have come together to give the family money for the reward.
“The community has come around us and helped out,” Peterson said.
Peterson has no idea why Zeus was killed.
“He was just one of our dogs,” Peterson said. “Why did they just choose him out of the other three dogs? It doesn’t make sense.”
Peterson said his dogs can use doggy doors to go back and forth between the yard and house.
Zeus would have turned 3 in December. Peterson said his daughter, Jaelynn, was devastated to find out their dog had been killed.
“He was a part of our family.” Peterson said. “He meant a lot to us.”
Peterson said not much can be done about the criminal investigation at this point.
“If we just have this one piece of the puzzle, there isn’t much we can do,” Peterson said. “It would be a different story if a person was killed. But as far as a lot of people are concerned, it’s just another dead dog. He isn’t another dead dog to us.”
Peterson hopes the reward will bring someone to justice.
“If someone is found, it won’t take back what happened,” Peterson said. “There would be a little relief, but what is done is done, and it doesn’t make up for it.”
The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office said the case is probably stalled without more information.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 256-2929.