February 16, 2018

From Angela Kelm, 940WFAW.com

A Dane County judge ordered an Evansville man who was charged with shooting two dogs to complete a hunter safety program.

35-year-old Kurt Rausch said he mistook the two dogs for coyotes, which he was hunting at night. The judge imposed and stayed a six-month jail sentence that Rausch will not have to serve if he completes the hunter safety program. Additionally, Rausch must pay a $2,500 fine.

According to reports, the judge said the case was “emotionally charged” and touched on the stupidity of night hunting. She noted she received about four-dozen letters regarding this case, more than any other case she has provided over.

Deanna Clark, the owner of the two dogs that were shot by Rausch and also a veterinarian in Lake Mills, said she was training the dogs around 6 p.m. that night in January 2016 for skijoring, a sport where dogs pull a cross-country skier. Both dogs were wearing reflective vests but were running loose. Rausch had set up a coyote call on public land and shot both dogs as they emerged from the underbrush.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Humphrey told the court Raush violated the cardinal rule of hunting and safety: know your target and what’s behind it. The dogs lived and despite the considerable vet bills, Clark told the court she didn’t want restitution or Rausch to be punished. Instead, she wants the Legislature to end hunting at night on public lands.


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