Sandia Park family grieving after burglar shoots, kills Great Dane

SANDIA PARK, N.M. (KRQE) – A Sandia Park family is still in shock, grieving the loss of their beloved Great Dane, Moose, who was shot by a burglar last week.

“I have not been able to sleep at home,” Cristelle Johnson said.

On Thursday, Johnson was out of town in California and her teen daughter at school when a family friend stopped by the home in the Magic Valley area to check on the family’s pets.

“He noticed my bedroom ransacked,” Johnson said. The entire home was disheveled; the back door was open, a footprint was left on a table near a window and nearly 5-year-old Moose, the family’s rescue Great Dane laid still in a corner.

The family friend got on the phone with Johnson, who then told her daughter to leave school early for the day and go home. Moose was bleeding heavily and barely clinging to life. She was rushed to the vet.

“I asked them go ahead and please euthanize her, humanely, because I didn’t want her to suffer anymore,” Johnson said.

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies came to the home and collected evidence, including two bullet fragments lodged into walls in the home. It’s believed one of those pierced Moose’s lungs, causing them to collapse.

“She probably just wanted to know who was in her house,” Johnson’s daughter, Sara, said.

Great Danes are known for a friendly, gentle demeanor.

“It’s disgusting,” Cpt. Andi Taylor with BCSO said. “It’s one of the more cowardly acts I’ve heard of.”

A laptop, purses, shoes, costume jewelry and tickets to the upcoming Lion King theatrical performance were among the things the burglar made off with.

But the Johnson family says none of those things compare to what can’t be replaced: Moose.

“She was a family dog,” Johnson said, crying. “I want the person who did this to be found and prosecuted at the highest extent of the law.”

Cpt. Taylor says the perpetrator has not been arrested, but when they are, they will face aggravated residential burglary and extreme animal cruelty charges.

Cpt. Taylor said it is rare to see cases like this, where family pets are killed during home invasions.

What is concerning, Cpt. Taylor says, is “It is scientifically proven that if you will hurt an animal, you will not think twice about hurting a person,” making this criminal a violent and dangerous one.