Prized dog gunned down, prosecutor ponders charges

September 29, 2018

Snoop Dogg


The morning’s first sunlight was barely peeking through the oaks as Snoop Dogg, a 2-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, nosed open a sliding glass door and began his usual morning duties, consisting primarily of patrolling the perimeter of the Murray family’s 45-acre Creston ranch. Along the way, he probably would pause to sniff here and there, maybe peer into some bushes exploring a curious sound. And then he would continue his mission, and would get home for breakfast before it got too hot. [Cal Coast Times]

Several hundred yards away on a neighboring ranch, a man with a high-powered rifle with telescopic sights had started his morning by nudging his ATV up a hill through knee-high dried grass to reach a 16-foot tower rising over the landscape. It was a comfortable perch once the ladder climb was conquered, a comfortably-cushioned, camouflaged seat with a padded rest for one’s weapon.

The tower, sold under names like “Sniper Outlaw Deer Stand,” was one of several stationed around the man’s property. This one offered a sweeping view of endless acres of wide open land, which the man scanned through his telescope. Then, in the distance, a large dog appeared in his crosshairs, and the man’s finger tightened on the rifle’s trigger.

The sniper tower

Teesee Murray, a global vice president of a major software corporation who travels frequently, was home and on a business phone call that morning when she heard the distinct retort of a large-caliber rifle. She noted the time, almost subconsciously — 8:15 a.m. — and felt a fleeting chill before dismissing the moment; gunfire in the rural area is not uncommon. But shortly thereafter, Snoop Dogg failed to return home.

With husband David on a business trip in Colorado, Teesee and her three teenage children spent the day and part of the next searching for their missing friend. Then she noticed an ominous gathering of turkey vultures circling over one edge of their property. She walked, alone and apprehensive, to the site. There she found Snoop Dogg, shot through the heart, his big, strong body already ravaged by night predators.

Almost exactly two years earlier, the Murrays had finally located and purchased the latest of the numerous Ridgebacks they had owned over two decades, a huge, playful, friendly puppy they simply called “Snoop.” He never let his AKC pedigree papers go to his head, the Murrays said.

In his brief Creston residency, Snoop already had sired one litter of pups, helping earn about $25,000. At their birth, Snoop was so excited about his new little family that he awakened the Murrays and heralded the news by dancing happily as he ushered them to the delivery site.

The two Murray daughters were planning to fund their college education with the Ridgebacks’ continuing enthusiastic procreation. Snoop’s mate, Pepper, is now pregnant with litter number two.

Snoop’s pleasant and gentle temperament made him a perfect companion, David recalled as he drove a reporter in an ATV to view the sniper tower where the shooter had perched.

“Snoop was loving,” David said, recounting how the dog “made quick friends” with the ranch’s cats, chickens, and an alpaca.  “He had size, shape, intelligence, and personality. He won’t be easy to replace.”

David could barely suppress his emotions as he pointed up the hill, at the tower.

“That’s where he shot from,” David said. “He couldn’t miss Snoop.”

David Murray and Pepper, Snoop Dogg’s pregnant mate.

After showing Snoop’s body to sheriff’s deputies, the Murray’s 18-year-old son Spencer carried out the wrenching job of burying “our cherished family member,” David said. Until that point, David did not know what was happening back home on the family ranch. Teecee placed the difficult call to her husband only after Snoop was interred.

Sheriff’s deputies interviewed a neighbor, Stephen William Almond, 65. David said deputies told him Almond admitted shooting Snoop Dogg, thinking the Ridgeback was a stray, was on his property, and that it might have been chasing a deer.

Such a shooting would have been illegal under those circumstances. California law prohibits killing a domestic dog unless it is threatening livestock or humans. Even if Snoop Dogg was chasing wildlife, that would not be grounds for pulling the trigger, deputies told the Murrays.

Sheriff’s investigators have turned their findings over to District Attorney Dan Dow, suggesting that criminal charges be filed against Almond.

“We want Mr. Almond criminally prosecuted for animal cruelty,” David said.

Almond did not return a reporter’s phone calls and text requests for comment.

Spencer entered Cal Poly’s College of Engineering earlier this month with Snoop Dogg’s demise weighing heavily on his mind. The Murray daughters aren’t sure if they will follow their breeding plans. Teecee is awakened at night by the sound of gunshots in her nightmares. David seethes with anger over what he calls Snoop Dogg’s “murder,” and like his family he’s numbed by grief. All are talking with therapists.

And now, the family has agreed that they no longer can live on the ranch with lingering memories of Snoop Dogg, and will be selling the property, David said.

The Murrays said they haven’t heard from Almond.

Daniel Blackburn can be reached at 


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This is beyond disgusting! We have owned and loved Ridgebacks for many years. They are quasi-human; simply amazing creatures. Although we are partial to Ridgebacks, regardless of the breed, this is a criminal tragedy of a family member.

This beast of a man is lunatic! So you are telling me he thought the dog was a stray? In the middle of the boonies? Really? I call BULL SHIT! You mean to tell me, that these folks have been your neighbor for God knows how long and you have never seen this dog?

There are places for people like him and they are not pleasant. I hope he is criminally prosecuted to set a new precedent and forced to pay punitive damages to this family that lost their dear family member. Let’s begin with 4 times the value of their property where, because of this monster, they no longer wish to reside.

Daily Comment

Mr. Almond’s actions are criminal. He needs to be held responsible for those actions. The DA need not wait and prolong this case any further. Charges need to be filed and the DA should not accept anything less than a felony plea to ensure this type of needless, careless, reckless and dangerous behavior will not happen again. Mr Almond has proven that he is not a responsible firearm owner and places anyone within range of his rifle in a dangerous situation.

for sure

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred as camp animals. Typically they never leave their camp. We’ve kept ridgebacks for years on unfenced properties without one issue.

Almond has large acreage where deer and packs of coyotes come on and off his property to neighboring properties, damaging crops and threatening livestock. Almond participated in the attractive nuisance that led to Snoop’s demise.

Snoop was tried and true. He gave 110% to his family. Nobody knows if Snoop suffered or not. He did not deserve to die. We do know he did not deserve to be left shot dead for vultures and coyotes to ravage his body in hopes that he would not be found.

We know what a coward is.

The Daily

Dudes not safe with a gun, no self control, he was up there, he was going to fire that weapon, likely shot the first moving thing he saw.


CA Penal Code 597 PC prohibits

-maliciously, “intentionally, or cruelly killing an animal.”

If convicted of a felony, you could get three years in state prison and around $20,000 fine (and that is just criminal, not civil implications.) 

And you will lose your firearms if convicted of a misdemeanor for-

• Discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner (Pen. Code, § 246.3.)

• Inflicting serious bodily injury as a result of brandishing (Pen. Code, § 417.6.)

• Armed criminal action (Pen. Code, § 25800.)


And it looks like this case breaks all three versions of these CA Penal Code 597 examples- 

Malicious: characterized by malice; intending or intended to do harm.

Intentionally: deliberately; on purpose.

Cruelly: (with reference to a person) in a way that willfully causes pain or suffering to others.


Regrettably, under realignment, even if convicted of every possible charge, this guy will never see the inside of a prison. This would be considered a “non-serious, non-violent” felony (even though he killed a dog) so he’d go to county jail, then get out early and go back home.

I do hope he is charged with something, or it’s open season on dogs, I guess.


Let me make one thing perfectly clear. No one loves dogs more than myself. Mr, Blackburn’s description of events in this story was beautifully written, almost poetic. A few points were neglected in favor of an inflammatory narrative that describes an evil man, no doubt white, with a big mean gun with a telescopic sight. Was it an “assault rifle”? I wonder. Lurking in his “outlaw sniper tower”, Mr. Almond waited for an innocent animal to come along so he could act out his cruelty while happy go lucky Snoop Dogg playfully explored his domain sniffing out the wonders of nature.

I can fully appreciate the heartbreak of the Murray family and my sympathy goes out to them for their loss. Some things need to be considered though. Was the dog confined to the Murray’s property as required by law? Not made clear in the article. Has the dog always been confined to their property or does it have a tendency to wander onto other peoples property while out making it’s morning explorations? Making it a stray. If the animal was shot cleanly through the heart with a high power rifle as described, it did not suffer. Destruction of property maybe, not animal cruelty. While good old Snoop had a wonderful life enjoying the bucolic atmosphere of the central coast inseminating the Murray’s breed bitch whenever she came into heat, does anyone consider the exploitation imposed on poor Pepper, required to constantly gestate and welp litter after litter to supply the Murray children with college education? My point to all this? I am disappointed in the presentation of this article in that it was clearly written to elicit an emotional reaction that would bring scorn onto Mr. Almond. This manner of reporting prejudices a potential jury pool. Tactics displayed more commonly by leftist MSM. This is not journalism. I expect more from CCN.


This must be Mr. Almond’s lawyer. It’s a pretty picture you paint. However, animal cruelty is a felony. Premeditated, considering he was in a sniper tower with a high powered rifle. Sheriff should have already collected his weapons.

Jorge Estrada

My dog was shot too!! Happy was a stray that I found along the Highway, he was quick to accept my place as home and was young enough to follow my other dog’s routine. Happy looked like a healthy coyote with a distinct smile. I never leash or corralled my dogs, living on rural land why would I? Then one day a neighbor proudly let me know that she shot my dog who was biting her penned goat’s leg. She had a right to do that but I would have paid for the goat in exchange for my dog. Weeks later a cougar ate her goat and attacked other livestock. Currently I do not have a dog because I do not want a caged member of the family. A country dog should be free, so long as they don’t kill chickens, chase livestock or disturb others. As for trespass laws for a dog, there are remedies for that depending on the nature of the activity. If you have to climb up to a shooting platform to see the practically invisible dog, shooting the dog is unreasonable unless you don’t know the owner and the dog is threating your livestock. If you know the owner, I’d suggest shooting the dog’s photo and give the owner the opportunity to remedy the issue. A dog that is of no threat to livestock should be a welcome neighbor. They only want to be accepted, nothing else.


Jorge, make no mistake, through both legal and personal irresponsibility, you were responsible for the death of your dog.


Big game hunter on meth, maybe?


This is deplorable but not necessarily an isolated case. I have always advised people that they should be very careful where they let their animals run because there is a mind set among some that all loose dogs are a threat. The fact that the dog was on their property the neighbor had to know the boundary and took the shot. Shame on him. But everyone please be cautious where you let your dogs run.


You can fry an egg on the back of my neck right now. The jerk that shot and killed this dog is cruel and demented. Using the reason the dog was “a possible stray chasing a deer”. Give me a break. I could possibly understand if the dog was chasing the shooters cattle, sheep, chickens, his pets, grandkids etc. but a deer? Special place in hell for you, Mac.