Dog shot by officer at Oregon Rainbow Gathering

Rainbow Gathering parking lot (Photo: USFS)

Malheur National Forest, Ore. – A dog was shot by a Forest Service law enforcement officer at a Rainbow Family Gathering parking lot on USFS land.

The Rainbow Gathering is a loosely organized event that occurs annually on remote forest lands around the world.

According to the Forest Service, on the morning of June 27 an officer was counting the number of cars in a Rainbow Gathering parking lot when he encountered two dogs.

The officer stopped to assess the scene. He noticed there were no people near the unleashed dogs, which were around 15 feet away.

A USFS statement said one of the dogs, identified as a pit bull mix, began moving toward the officer. The officer stepped back, and the dog began to run toward him.

At that point, the officer un-holstered his firearm and fired a single shot at the dog, which fell around two feet from the officer.

The Forest Service said following the shooting, the dog’s owners and numerous bystanders began yelling at responding officers.

The USFS statement about the incident said in part, “In spite of the hostile crowd, a K9 law enforcement officer administered first aid to the dog.”

The dog was taken to an animal hospital in nearby Canyon City where it was ultimately euthanized due to the extent of its injuries.

The incident remains under investigation. The USFS is taking the opportunity to remind gatherers that dogs must be leashed at all times.

The Rainbow Gathering in Oregon has drawn nearly 4,000 people to eastern Oregon so far, according to the Forest Service. As many as 30,000 attendees are expected as the official start date of the gathering draws near.

The Forest Service is calling the gathering an “unauthorized, unsanctioned event.”

The USFS said so far, 233 warning notices have been issued to attendees, along with 61 violation notices. There have been eight arrests so far.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has set up a special “mobile court” with a judge and prosecutor near the gathering site to process citation issued during the event.

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