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Owner doesn't blame neighbor who fatally shot her dogs

The owner of two dogs that were shot Thursday morning in Oklahoma City said she suspects the dogs escaped the backyard after someone tried to break in.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: February 19, 2011
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“Someone tried to get in,” she said. “I think they were trying to get in the home, and they were surprised by the dogs.”

Saenz said her neighborhood is known for break-ins. She and her husband recently had a car window repaired after a theft, and a cousin's car also was broken into while at her home.

“We always have the same problem of people breaking into our cars and our houses,” she said.

Charlotte Maughan, the woman who shot Saenz's dogs, said that's the reason she learned to fire a gun in the first place. She earned her concealed-carry permit about a year ago. She got the permit with encouragement from her husband after a rash of neighborhood robberies and break-ins, she said.

Saenz said she and her husband have felt lost since their dogs died.

She flipped through photos on her camera Friday afternoon, pausing to look at pictures of her two dogs. Vader taking a nap under a blanket. Bella wearing a sweater at Christmas. The pair cuddled up on their dog bed.

Her dogs were sweet, she said. They were playful.

The first dog, Vader, was a gift from Saenz to Torres three years ago for their first Christmas as a married couple.

In November, the couple got Vader a companion: Bella.

The couple haven't been able to have children, so the dogs were like their kids, Saenz said.

“We love bull terriers,” she said.

Both dogs were loving and smart, but their personalities were different. Bella was sometimes aggressive toward other female dogs, Saenz said. She said she is worried that is what triggered the dogfight.

But at home, Vader and Bella were sweet, she said. Every night, Vader would trot into her bedroom, slip his nose under her fingers and flip her hand onto his head. She'd pet his ears, and the dog would return to his bed to curl up with Bella.

“They're not mean dogs,” she said. “We didn't train them to be mean dogs.”

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