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MAGNA, Utah (AP) -- Four Labrador puppies were found shot to death. Investigators were seeking the person who did it, but, if that person was the dogs' owner, it is possible no charges will be filed.
The dogs, 4 to 5 months also, were found Tuesday near a disposal plant by a Salt Lake County sheriff's deputy on patrol.
Salt Lake County Animals Services spokeswoman Temma Martin said the dogs appeared to be purebred.
The owner may have been unable to sell or give away all of the dogs from a recent litter and finally decided to shoot them, Martin said. "It's so sad," she said.
Martin said the owner had other, better alternatives -- such as leaving them at the animal shelter, where they would have been given the opportunity to be adopted out.
Utah law allows a pet owner to kill the animal if it's done in a humane fashion.
It would be up to the Salt Lake district attorney to decide whether this incident fell into the category of animal cruelty or if the owner was legally allowed to shoot his puppies.
Martin said that if nothing else, illegal dumping and illegal discharge of a firearm charges could be considered.
There are simply too many Labradors being bred in Utah, Martin said. Those types of dogs are being so overbred that there aren't enough homes available.
In 2002, 67 percent of the dogs turned into the shelter were either Lab or Lab mixes, Martin said.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)