Woman arrested for animal cruelty after dog found shot in the head on Spirit Lake Highway last year


The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office says it has arrested a 33-year-old Castle Rock woman for animal cruelty linked to the discovery of a dog on the Spirit Lake Highway that had been shot in the head. 

Cowlitz County Public Utility District employees found the badly injured English retriever with its snout duct-taped shut in the 17000 block of highway in Toutle on Nov. 2, 2023. 

On Wednesday, detectives arrested Jessica Rosita Schmidt, who is believed to be the former owner of the dog, after stopping her while she was driving in the 8500 block of Barnes Drive in Castle Rock. 

She was booked into Cowlitz County Jail on charges of first-degree animal cruelty, making false or misleading statements to a public servant and second-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license. 

This case was initially investigated by the Cowlitz County Humane Society and was later transferred to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.

“Examination of the dog’s injuries showed it had been shot in the head and the projectile had fragmented into numerous small pieces,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a news release. “The dog, now known as Trooper, survived his injuries and is now in the care of a host family.”

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office Crime Reduction Team identified a person of interest early in the investigation, according to the release.  

“Detectives interviewed several witnesses and served search warrants to obtain evidence in this investigation,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Evidence recovered during the service of a search warrant confirmed the identity of the injured dog as well as its owner. Detectives used digital forensic evidence to confirm the suspect’s timeline and communications related to this incident.”

Trooper was ultimately adopted by his rescuer and made the grand marshal of a holiday parade in Cowlitz County. Read more about that here:  https://www.chronline.com/stories/abused-dog-found-shot-along-spirit-lake-highway-adopted-set-to-lead-holiday-parade,329745