Family speaks out after beloved dog shot and killed

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(ABC 6 News) – Arie is a four-year-old Alaskan Malamute, and the companion and best friend to the McCain family.

She was found shot and killed on Nov. 20 – leaving the family devastated and confused as to how this could happen. For Bethany McCain and her daughter Aubrey, the grief is still new.

The beloved pet appeared to be dragged into a nearby ravine by her collar. The family suspects the person who shot her tried to hide the body.

"The collar that had her name and our contact information. He knew very well what he had done," owner Bethany McCain said.

The family lives on about 12 acres of land and their neighborhood surrounds an open field. This makes it an ideal environment for hunters.

"Everyone within a four-mile radius knew Arie. So it certainly wasn’t someone who was a part of our neighborhood," McCain said.

Arie didn’t come home after taking a routine bathroom break. The family then sent out a search party full of people handing out flyers and knocking on doors. That’s when they found her body – believing she had been shot by someone hunting deer. Later that day, McCain and her husband went back to the scene. They found the hunter there, and the pair said they got his confession.

"We saw the killer on his hands and knees trying to bury her blood. No explanation and no apology," McCain said.

She is urging other pet owners to take this as a cautionary tale and keep track of people near the neighborhood.

"You don’t know who they’re bringing onto their property. You don’t know who could be lurking in your backyard," she said. The family is now left with special memories. And thankful for the time they did have.

"There’s so much to be grateful for. Arie gave us so much love," McCain said.

The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office originally responded, but the case has since been handed over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to continue the investigation.

Because this is an ongoing investigation, the DNR cannot release any further information. However, so far no one has been arrested and a suspect has not been named.