MT man accused of killing 55 dogs during standoff

AP News
Posted: Jul 23, 2011 12:28 AM
MT man accused of killing 55 dogs during standoff

A Montana man is accused of shooting at officers and killing more than 50 dogs on his property during an hours-long standoff.

Carbon County sheriff's deputies were called to Peter Northcutt's property near Joliet on Thursday evening after his brother reported the man might be suicidal.

When a sheriff's sergeant pulled into the driveway, Northcutt pointed a gun at him and yelled, "You don't want any part of this, get out of here," according to court records.

The records say Northcutt fired a shotgun at responding officers. The officers, who were not wounded, then called a SWAT team from Billings for assistance.

While they were waiting, officers said they heard gunshots and saw Northcutt walking among the kennels on the property. He is accused of shooting about 55 dogs and arranging their bodies into star-type formations and patterns.

Court records say he then lay among the dogs and became unresponsive. He was taken to a Billings hospital.

County Attorney Alex Nixon would not say how Northcutt became unresponsive, but he confirmed the man did not shoot himself.

Nixon charged Northcutt Friday with two felony counts of assault on a peace officer and one count of aggravated animal cruelty. Nixon said the animals, 10 of which were spared, were sled dogs and were likely huskies and huskie mixes.