Colorado Bowhunter Kills Neighbor’s Dog for Chasing Deer on His Property

by Lauren Boisvert

In unfortunate news, a bowhunter in Eagle County, Colorado, killed his neighbor’s dog when it ran onto his private property, chasing a herd of deer. The neighbor’s dog-sitter, Stephen Katz, was in charge of caring for the dog when it wandered onto Henry Jouflas’ property.

Jouflas, 24, was hunting on his family’s privately owned land when he encountered two dogs chasing after the deer. One of them, a 7-year-old Portuguese water dog who belonged to Jen Mason, a resident of Vail, Colorado, stopped below Jouflas’ tree stand. According to the police report, Jouflas thought the dogs were loose, and didn’t know that Katz was right behind them. He said that he didn’t see any other person around. Katz arrived at the scene after the dog was shot.

When one of the dogs stopped in Jouflas’ line of sight, he said he “put it down, to stop it from further harassing the wildlife.” According to a report from Vail Daily, the Jouflas’ land sits next to a Bureau of Land Management tract. They’ve had issues with trespassers for a long time.

Katz, on the other hand, said he thought he was allowed on the Jouflas’ land. He claimed he didn’t see the “no trespassing” signs on the barbed wire fences around the property. There’s a trail on the BLM land that ends at the Jouflas’ property. It’s marked by signs and barbed wire. According to Katz, he entered the property by climbing over the initial border fence. He then had to chase after the dogs who slipped under another fence.

Bowhunter Shoots Dog Who Chased Herd of Deer On His Property, Dog-Sitter Charged With Trespassing

“The area is fenced and clearly marked with no trespassing signs,” said Greg Jouflas, owner of the property where Katz and the dogs trespassed. James Jouflas, Henry Jouflas’ father and Greg Jouflas’ brother, said that Katz had to have known he was on private property. But, Katz claims otherwise. Still, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department cited Stephen Katz for trespassing.

Though, Katz is looking to pursue a wrongful death suit for the dog in civil court. Greg Jouflas countered by bringing up Colorado law. Apparently, the dog was committing a crime: chasing wildlife on private property. This made its death within legal limits. “That has been the law in Colorado for many, many years,” said Greg. “That dog could have easily killed that fawn if he caught it.”

Greg posited that if Katz had been with both of the dogs, one of them would not have been killed by the bowhunter. Apparently, when Katz arrived on the scene, there was a heated discussion between him and Henry Jouflas. “A verbal argument took place between Henry and Stephen,” according to the police report. “Henry stated that Stephen threatened him but understood emotions were high because of the deceased dog.”

Later, Katz called the Sheriff’s Office and claimed Henry Jouflas pointed his “crossbow” at him. “Stephen told me that Henry physically pointed the ‘crossbow’ at him,” wrote Deputy Brandon Bernard in the report. “I advised Stephen that he was changing his story and that he had shown me how the crossbow was held and gave no indication that he had been threatened before. Stephen began to argue hypotheticals with me about what if Henry did point the weapon at him and inquired about what Henry could be charged with.”