Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting

NY: Man faces hunting charge after dog slain by arrow in park

October 31, 2009

Man faces hunting charge after dog slain by arrow in park

ORANGETOWN - State investigators have tracked down a Pearl River man they say killed a Siberian husky with an arrow while hunting illegally in Blauvelt State Park.

Joseph Giebelhouse, 22, acknowledged to State Park Police that he was hunting at the park, a spokesman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said.

"He told police he shot at two deer, but accidentally hit the dog, which he believed was a coyote," said the spokesman, Dan Keefe.

Giebelhouse is charged with hunting illegally in the park and possessing a weapon in the park, both violations of State Park regulations, Keefe said. He is due in Orangetown Town Court at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 18.

Giebelhouse could not be reached at his house Thursday night. A woman who answered the phone said he had nothing to say.

Austin Bridges of Nyack was walking his two dogs, 11-year-old Miles, the husky, and 5-year-old Nick, a bichon frise, around 8:30 a.m. Oct. 19 in Tackamack Town Park.

He said he let both dogs off their leashes after heading a few minutes down the trail, but both animals remained near him. Dogs are supposed to be kept on their leashes.

Bridges said he suddenly heard a "clap" noise and then Miles crying in agony.

He ran to his dog, who was bleeding profusely from both sides.

Bridges turned to call Nick closer, fearful someone was randomly shooting in the woods.

When Bridges turned back to Miles, the dog had collapsed and died.

Bridges said he yelled out and heard a man's voice say, "Oh, damn."

Fearful someone was randomly shooting in the woods, Bridges ran out of the woods with Nick and drove home. He called a friend who urged him to report the incident to police.

Bridges met two Orangetown police officers at the park, and they continued into the woods until they came to Miles' body.

They determined the trajectory of the arrow and told Bridges it appeared to have been shot by someone in a tree stand.

They also determined the shooting had occurred in the state park.

The officers then helped Bridges carry the dog to his car. He later buried the animal in his backyard.

Hunting of any kind is banned in all village, town, county and state parks in Rockland.

Orangetown police reported the incident to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which also informed the State Park Police.

Austin and his wife, Dawn, want people to know about the incident to help prevent a similar occurrence.

The shooting site is within a few dozen feet of homes on Valenza Lane in Blauvelt.

Keefe said park police, with the assistance of the DEC, conducted an investigation that led to Giebelhouse.

Dawn Bridges said she was pleased the hunter had been identified.

"It's dangerous behavior and could have been a child very easily," she said.

Austin Bridges previously said he felt whomever had shot Miles had acted irresponsibly.

On Friday, he said he wasn't surprised the shooting apparently had been committed by a young man.

"That's the action of someone young," Bridges said.

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