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Shooter facing charge

Tim Mutrie

Ted Coffman, the Carbondale man who shot and killed his neighbor’s Rottweiler, has been issued a summons to appear in Pitkin County Court on a cruelty to animals charge, according to Deputy Ron Ryan of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation conducted by Deputy Carrington Brown and ReRe Baker, the county’s animal control officer, also concluded that Coffman violated two state criminal statutes during the course of the Aug. 19 shooting, according to a written statement from the sheriff’s office.

Coffman, 53, whose phone has been chronically busy since the incident, claimed Zena, the 14-month-old Rottweiler, had “tried to attack four members of our family on four separate occasions,” prior to Aug. 19. He made the assertion in a letter to the editor published this week in a local newspaper.

In his letter, Coffman said he had warned the dog’s owners – his neighbors, the Tanises – about the attacks three times prior to the shooting. He also said he contacted the sheriff’s office twice about Zena’s behavior.

Ryan confirmed that Coffman contacted the sheriff’s office about Zena on Aug. 6. Ryan said Coffman reported “that the dog had tried to attack them.”

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The Coffmans apparently had several more encounters with the dog between the Aug. 6 incident and the shooting two weeks later, according to the sheriff’s office statement.

According to the statement, on Aug. 19, Zena strayed from the Tanis property, at 6316 Highway 133, onto the adjacent Coffman property, at 6336 Highway 133, when Coffman shot and killed the dog.

Andrea Peabody, the sister of Zena’s owner, Cynthia Tanis, and a witness to the shooting, told The Aspen Times last week that Coffman shot the dog twice in the neck with a shotgun.

“The sheriff’s office wishes to relay that the persons involved in the very unfortunate incident are regretful,” the sheriff’s office statement said.


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