MT man accused of killing 55 dogs during standoff

July 22, 2011 - 10:44 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man is accused of shooting at officers and killing more than 50 dogs on his property during an hours-long standoff.

Carbon County sheriff's deputies were called to Peter Northcutt's property near Joliet on Thursday evening after his brother reported the man might be suicidal. Court records say Northcutt fired a shotgun at responding officers, who then called a SWAT team from Billings for assistance.

Officers said they then heard gunshots and saw Northcutt walking among the kennels on the property. He is accused of shooting about 55 dogs and arranging their bodies into star-type formations.

Court records say he then lay among the dogs and became unresponsive. He was taken to a Billings hospital.

Northcutt is charged with assault on a peace officer and aggravated animal cruelty. The animals, 10 of which were spared, were sled dogs.