ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A family in the Albuquerque metro is searching for help after finding their beloved family pet shot dead. They say they’re desperately trying to figure out who would kill their chihuahua right outside their home, and it’s been tough to get any answers.
The Jackson family let their four pups out in the backyard last week to go to the bathroom. A few minutes later, they grew concerned when their 8-pound chihuahua Diesel didn’t come back.
“We immediately got concerned as to where he was. I went out with a flashlight, started calling, went around the whole property, looking, whistling, calling,” said Matt Jackson. “I went out onto the street, looked up and down and it’s dark. It’s 5:15 in the morning.”
Within minutes of searching their North Valley neighborhood, Jackson found Diesel. He was dead in the street, just a few houses down.
“Really sweet dog, never had any issues with him. He’s dead, right by the side of the road,” said Jackson. “I’m a hunter. I picked him up and looked at him and I can immediately tell it looks like a gunshot wound.”
Jackson says they do live near the Alameda and the Rio Grande where there is nearby wildlife. He double-checked Diesel’s body to make sure there weren’t signs of an attack from a coyote, owl or hawk.
He says he immediately brought the dog home and left a message with Bernalillo County Animal Control. He asked that an officer would come out and collect Diesel so they can pursue an animal cruelty investigation.
“Now that animal cruelty is a felony in New Mexico, I’m not sure if we can ever prove who shot my dog but I would like for them to do a report, because with their report, I can go to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department and I can have them do an investigation, as well,” said Jackson. They had to have Animal Control’s first steps of a report.”
When the officer arrived while Jackson was at work, unable to leave, he asked a neighbor to go over and work with the officer while he stayed on speakerphone. He says the officer said there would be a $25 surrender fee and when he asked the officer if when he paid that, there would be an investigation into Diesel’s cause of death, he says the officer told him, yes.
“She came right over, met the officer, interacted with him, signed the proper paperwork to have the animal picked up,” said Jackson, referring to his neighbor who came to talk to the officer. “He had me on speakerphone, I asked him, ‘hey, what else do I have to do, when do you think you’ll have a determination, what do you think happened?’ His very candid response was, ‘I agree with you, it doesn’t look this was done by an animal. It looks like he has been shot.'”
However, Jackson said he was shocked by what the officer told him next.
“He was very matter-of-fact and to the point that, you know, you’re probably never going to find out who it was and if he was not on your property, they probably wouldn’t prosecute anyway,” said Jackson, referring to what the officer told him.
Jackson says the loss of Diesel is especially heartbreaking for the family because they haven’t been able to break the news to his oldest son yet.
“That dog was really my oldest son’s who is deployed in the military. He’s actually on deployment right now. He doesn’t even know this has happened yet,” said Jackson. “He’s still in a communication blackout. He doesn’t even know his dog has been shot and killed.”
Jackson said for nearly a week, he called and left messages every day with Animal Control — to the officer, supervisor, and director — and did not get a response until Monday evening. He says Animal Control isn’t pursuing the case.
“It’s very upsetting. We have a lot of trauma and we’ve lost a dog and the people we’re supposed to get answers from, who are supposed to give support in an animal cruelty situation, are doing nothing,” said Jackson, who finally got a call from the supervisor on Monday. “I said, ‘What is the determination?’ He goes, ‘We can’t make a determination.’ I said, ‘Well why can’t you?’ He says, ‘You never paid for the procedure to have the necropsy, the investigation done.’ He said, ‘The officer says he told you that would be an additional charge.’ I said, ‘No, he didn’t.’ I said, ‘I had a very clear and concise conversation with your officer, my neighbor was a witness standing there, he never once said there would be an additional charge.’ He said, ‘Well it can run up to a couple hundred dollars and we don’t just do that for everyone that says there’s an issue.’ If he had told me, I would have gladly paid whatever the charge was to have the determination of what had happened to the animal. He said the animal has been disposed of. The body has been disposed of, and that was never done.”
Jackson says they’ve hit a brick wall now. With no cause of death officially determined by Animal Control and with their main evidence — Diesel’s body — disposed of without any testing done, it makes it hard to pursue an animal cruelty case. The family hopes neighbors will come forward if they know or saw anything.
He says his younger kids are heartbroken and worried about the neighborhood, asking if something will happen to their other dogs or their horses. Jackson says they had just moved into the home around Christmas and had only been there a couple of weeks. Now, they’re left with more questions than answers and are disappointed with how the county has handled the case.
“We find him and go to the authorities to try to get closure and we get nothing but incompetence and ‘Well, there’s nothing we can do.’ That’s the answer we’ve been given at every step of the process,” said Jackson. “With no investigation ever done and no necropsy on the body, we’ll never know.”
KRQE News 13 reached out to Bernalillo County. They say the case is under investigation, so they could not share details and declined to speak with us on camera.