'Backroading' gunfire puts livestock in jeopardy - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

'Backroading' gunfire puts livestock in jeopardy

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"I don't feel like my animals are safe anymore," Fannin County ranch owner Karla Schmidt said. (KTEN) "I don't feel like my animals are safe anymore," Fannin County ranch owner Karla Schmidt said. (KTEN)
Karla Schmidt's donkey, Annie Oakley, was shot and killed in her pasture. (Facebook) Karla Schmidt's donkey, Annie Oakley, was shot and killed in her pasture. (Facebook)
Blake Cummings is charged with illegal hunting. (Fannin County Jail) Blake Cummings is charged with illegal hunting. (Fannin County Jail)
Two donkeys were orphaned after Annie Oakley was shot and killed. (KTEN) Two donkeys were orphaned after Annie Oakley was shot and killed. (KTEN)

FANNIN COUNTY, Texas -- Ranch owner Karla Schmidt said she was in disbelief last Friday when she found her beloved donkey, Annie Oakley, had been shot and killed.

"When I called them all up from the pasture, there was supposed to be one more coming up from the pasture," she said. "It's just devastating to have your animal sitting out in your pasture who was innocent... just shot down."

Schmidt told her story on Facebook, offering a $5,000 reward to identify the responsible party. That post was shared more than 40,000 times.

The social media buzz led game wardens to arrest Blake Cummings for "backroading" an illegal crime where people shoot at things along back roads, usually at night.

"The problem with hunting off the road is, at night you're using lights, and you can't even see what you're shooting at," Game Warden Randolph McGee said.

Cummings was arrested Monday night and charged with a Class A misdemeanor for hunting from the road.

Investigators said Cummings confessed to mistaking the donkey for a feral pig. Authorities say Cummings shot and killed a cow around this same time last year, also asserting that he mistook it for a pig.

"What was unusual about this case was that an animal -- livestock --  got killed," McGee said. "It was shot twice, and that was just pretty senseless."

Authorities say Cummings is also going to face additional charges later on. 

Now,  Karla Schmidt is left to care for Annie's two babies.

"I don't feel safe," she said. "I don't feel like my animals are safe anymore."

Authorities say if you see someone traveling slowly down a back road while using a spotlight is a common sign of backroading behavior. Call your local sheriff or game warden if you spot a potential suspect.

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