EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah – An Eagle Mountain family is mourning the loss of their family pet after investigators said it was shot and killed just behind their home in the Kiowa Valley area Saturday afternoon.
A smooth rock, some freshly tilled dirt and a vase of brightly colored flowers now rest near a small tree in the Masson family's Eagle Mountain backyard.
“He’s right here,” Nicole Masson said as she pointed to the small patch of dirt. “We are hoping to paint this in a few days,” she said, pointing to a rock in place of a grave marker.
Here lies Lucky, a 4-year-old, 15-pound mini Doberman pinscher.
“He was so tiny and so loving towards us,” Nicole said. “He wanted to be petted all the time, he would paw at people just like, ‘keep petting me, keep petting me.’”
For Nicole, her husband Michael and their 4-year-old daughter Chloe, Lucky was more than just a family pet.
“I was there when [Lucky] was born, I actually like caught him when he was being born,” Nicole said. “He was the runt of the litter so I used to carry him around and just make sure that he was getting enough milk because his siblings would push him off, and he was just kind of like my little baby as I was pregnant… my practice baby,” she laughed.
“I definitely thought we would have him until he grew old, he was extremely healthy, had no health problems whatsoever,” Nicole said.
A thought that came crashing to an end last Saturday when a gate got left open and Lucky got out.
“My husband and daughter were just out here bouncing on the trampoline, we have this easement which is a city-owned space,” Nicole said as she looked out on the uphill plot of land adjacent to their backyard.
“[Lucky] just wandered up this way,” Nicole said as she started to hike up the hill toward the Eagle Top Court cul-de-sac.
That’s when it happened. “They heard what sounded like a fire cracker,” said Nicole.
Looking around, Nicole’s husband quickly realized that “fire cracker” was actually a gun shot.
She said he looked up the hill and saw two men standing there.
“It looked like they were verifying that they had shot [Lucky], they were like pointing and talking about it and then they turned and headed back just to leave,” Nicole said.
Michael then saw Lucky, trying to come back down the hill toward their home.
“[Lucky] ran part of the way down the hill and then just kind of curled up and that’s where my husband came and picked him up,” she said.
“[Lucky] had a wound on one side, exiting the other,” Nicole explained. “[Lucky] just had blood everywhere.”
Seeing the extent of injuries, Michael said he decided not to pursue the two men standing at the top of the hill and instead try to save the dog.
Michael, Nicole and their 4-year-old put Lucky in a box with towels and put pressure on the wounds. They drove 25 minutes to the nearest animal hospital in American Fork. The hospital was able to stabilize the dog and sent them to Midvale for further treatment, but at that point, it was too late.
“[Lucky] was just kind of slowly dying the whole trip,” Nicole said.
“We tried everything we could to save him, but he was just too far gone by the time we got all the way out to Midvale,” Michael added.
The Massons said they held out hope that Lucky would be okay. His death was a harsh reality they were not expecting.
“I know it sounds silly when people say, ‘my pet’s part of my family,’ but I truly, truly love this dog,” said Nicole.
“I think it would be one thing having your dog get sick or have an accident, but having such a violent, senseless way for them to end… just adds this whole other level,” Nicole shook her head.
Now, with tears in their eyes, the family is left with more questions than answers.
“I just kind of feel unsafe now and I’ve never felt that way before, it’s just kind of scary to know that someone lives by you that would do something like that,” Nicole continued.
Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office were able to follow a blood trail from the Massons' home on Ute Drive to the backyard of a home on Eagle Top Court, but they have not been able to make an arrest.
UCSO is currently searching for information and doorbell camera video. If any residents in the area of Eagle Top Court, Golden Eagle Road, or Ute Drive have video showing someone walking or driving by between 3 and 4 p.m. Saturday, June 13, they are asked to contact Detective Dallin Turner at 801-851-4023.