SEATTLE — A neighbor of Salma Hayek's Washington state ranch told investigators he shot at the actress' beloved Belgian Malinois with an air rifle because it was in his garage and fighting with his own dogs, investigators said Monday in finding the shooting justified.
The neighbor told deputies he didn't know he hit Hayek's dog or that it soon died, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office said. And his wife told The Associated Press the couple didn't even know the dog belonged to the famous actress.
Deputies investigated after Hayek's dog was found dead Feb. 19 on her property about 70 miles south of Seattle. The office ruled the shooting justified but referred the case to prosecutors for review.
"We didn't even know we hit the dog," neighbor Kim Lund said Monday, adding that her husband held up the pellet gun and shot it to scare the dogs away. She said one of the dogs was on top of her dog at the time.
Ziesemer said Monday that a neighbor told a deputy he was inside his house when he heard what sounded like a dog fight in his garage. The neighbor says he fired one shot from an air rifle and the other two dogs ran off.
Lund said she and her husband were inside their home watching TV when they heard a ruckus in their garage. She said Hayek's dogs often come over to her property and chase her dogs.
"I'm still coming to terms with all of this, as you can imagine," Lund said. "We didn't even know we killed a dog. To find out we killed a dog that belonged to a high profile person, I'm in shock."
Hayek posted on Instagram Friday that she was mourning the death of her 9-year-old dog named Mozart and hoped authorities would find justice. The 49-year-old actress, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her starring role in the 2002 film "Frida," said Mozart was a loving and loyal companion and didn't deserve a slow and painful death.
A veterinarian later determined a lead pellet nicked an artery and caused the canine to internally bleed out, Ziesemer said.
A caretaker was watching Hayek's dogs on the property at the time. The caretaker told deputies she went for a horseback ride with a few dogs. At the end of the road, the dogs took off running toward the sound of other canines at an adjacent property, Ziesemer said.
Later, the caretaker realized one of the dogs had not returned. She searched and found him dead on a trail.
Lund, who has five dogs of her own and other animals, said she was heart-broken to learn that the actress' dog had died. "My heart is broken. I'm really sorry that the dog died," she said.
A message left with Hayek's publicist was not immediately returned.