Castle Rock pets victims of wildlife attack, not gunfire

Quincy, a 5-year-old toy poodle, and Baxter, a 12-year-old Maltese, were found dead Jan. 24 in the backyard of their home in the Red Hawk subdivision in Castle Rock. Owners Warren and Diana Lubliner thought they died of gunshot wounds but a necropsy performed by Colorado State University indicated they were killed in a wildlife attack. Courtesy photos
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A Castle Rock family convinced their dogs were victims of foul play received word the animals likely died in a wildlife attack.

Warren and Diana Lubliner discovered their fallen pets in their backyard days before the couple was due in court to face animal nuisance charges.

The two live in the Red Hawk subdivision and were certain that toy poodle Quincy, 5, and Maltese Baxter, 12, died of gunshot wounds. The ensuing police investigation indicated otherwise.

Castle Rock police confirmed Jan. 29 that the pets suffered crushing, biting and shaking wounds consistent with an animal attack, said Karen McGrath, police spokeswoman.

As of Jan. 31, police were awaiting the full necropsy report from Colorado State University, McGrath said. A necropsy is equivalent to an autopsy on an animal. The preliminary necropsy report showed no sign of gunshot wounds.

“It wasn’t a shooting, it was an animal that attacked these dogs,” McGrath said. “We don’t know what type of wild animal; we would say a coyote or a fox. It is still under investigation.”

Around 10:45 p.m. the night of the attack, Diana Lubliner let three of the family’s four pets out in the backyard and checked on them about 45 minutes later, she said. The yard is adjacent to a walking trail and enclosed by a split rail fence.

She found two of her pets dead when the family Pekingese came to the back door alone, Diana Lubliner said. In the minutes before the discovery, she and her husband heard no barking or alarm to indicate the presence of a wild animal.

“If you see the wounds it appears it’s something other than an animal attack,” Diana Lubliner said. “They both had one entry wound and both were right around their heart area. I’ve seen animals attacked by coyotes and these (dogs) were not attacked by coyotes. They were intact, there was no fur everywhere, no tears. 

“I’m just sick about this and I just don’t think this was something that wasn’t human inflicted,” she said.

The Lubliners have twice been cited by Castle Rock police as a result of complaints by neighbors for excessive barking. Court records show Diana Lubliner pleaded guilty in October 2012 to a charge of animal nuisance and paid a $96 fine.

When police issued a second citation in Dec. 2012, the couple opted to fight the charges. A neighbor told Warren Lubliner that a complaint would go to police anytime the dogs were barking, he said.

“At that point I wasn’t going to continue to write out check to the Town of Castle Rock anytime someone alleged my dogs to be barking,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of stress and anxiety and it’s been rather an emotional experience. Not having completely grieved the loss of these guys now I have to defend them and their actions in court. How much one family is supposed to go through I’m not quite sure.”

The Lubliners were due Feb. 6 to appear in Castle Rock municipal court. Castle Rock police intended to refer the wildlife attack to the town’s animal control officer, whose next step was to alert neighbors, McGrath said.