Search for missing family dog ends in a phone call and strange evidence.

Ashland resident Justin Underwood noticed his dog, a 9-year-old border collie was missing.

Underwood discovered Mac had chewed through his wooden gate some time before 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Immediately the Underwoods went on a hunt for their beloved dog, not giving up until almost midnight.

"This dog meant a lot to us. We owed it to him to get him back," Justin said.

Although Mac was microchipped and even had an identifiable ear tattoo, the Underwoods went an extra step and posted "lost dog" posters around their community.

Friday morning Justin received a phone call from an individual stating that she had shot Mac because he had trespassed into her goat pen.

When Justin asked what was done with the body, the individual was very hesitant in responding.

"I had to ask her over and over where the body was and she didn't want to say at first," Justin said. "Finally she told us she had dumped him off a bridge on the east side of town."

Although saddened by the news of their dog, Justin said he understood Mac had trespassed and had accepted the consequences.

That sentiment changed with a surprising discovery.

Mac's body was sent to a research lab at K-State by the Clark County Sheriff's Office. The results showed no evidence of a gunshot wound; Mac's death was caused by strangulation.

"When we found out he was strangled to death, that changed everything for us," Justin said. "We're now trying to file this case under Magnum's law."

Under Magnum's law, it is a felony to hurt or kill an animal intentionally.

The Underwoods feel dissatisfaction by the chain of events leading to death of their dog. Justin said that in her statement to Clark County Sheriff's, the woman confessed that Mac cowered to her when she approached him, presenting a chance to contact the Underwoods.

The collar that showed Mac's information was taken off before the woman disposed of the body.

"We're in the livestock business, so we understand having to protect your livestock, but she crossed the line," Justin said. "Mac wasn't a repeat offender, he wasn't a mean dog. Losing him not only meant losing a family dog but he was also very instrumental to our breeding program."

The Clark County Attorney's office told the Underwoods the case is "open and under investigation."

The county attorney was not available for comment prior to press time.