Retaliations reported against protestors
WINDOW ROCK-A Navajo Nation animal control officer said Dec. 22 that a "Navajo sheepdog" that was allegedly "skinned alive" had injuries consistent with being hit by a vehicle.
"The dog was not skinned," Navajo Nation Senior Animal Control Officer Stacy Daw said.
Gloria Tom, director of the Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife Dept., said Ofc. Daw went to the camp site last week, inspected the animal, interviewed people camped there and ascertained that the animal was not skinned (as widely disseminated online through blog reports).
Ofc. Daw said the dog, a male Bassett hound wearing a green harness without tags or other identification, did not appear to be a sheepdog, but someone's pet.
She said that she had received a call from Navajo police on Dec. 15 to investigate a report of a dog having been "skinned alive" and left at the Desert Rock Energy Project protester camp. Local media stories quoted protesters opposed to the Desert Rock Energy Project alleging that the dog had been skinned and left to die at the camp as a way to intimidate them.
However, both Tom and Ofc. Daw said they have received no phone calls from local reporters to confirm that allegation since the incident was first reported despite having been notified of their finding by the Office of the President and Vice President (OPVP).
Ofc. Daw said the dog's carcass was to be taken to the San Juan Veterinary Clinic in Farmington, N.M., today to have a necropsy conducted to certify its actual cause of death.
She said she arrived at the protesters' camp with four police officers and two criminal investigators to look into the claim Dec. 22. She said it appeared the dog had been hit off the dirt road near the camp, was partially paralyzed, and had dragged itself approximately 20 feet to the road.
The only person with information was a non-Native named Carleton Tap, she said. Ofc. Daw said it appeared that if people were sleeping at the site when the alleged incident occurred, someone would likely have heard something.
"They said the dog was skinned to intimidate the protesters camped there," she said. "It looked like it happened off the road but there was no witnesses and no one has come forward."
She was told the dog belonged to a woman. When she went to the woman's home, she found no one home. She left a note with her phone number but that in the week since she investigated the incident, no one has called her to claim the dog or report it missing.
"The owners haven't come forth," she said. "There's been no contact from anyone."
Earlier this week, Internet blogs inaccurately reported that Navajo grandmothers were being arrested at the protest site.