Colorado U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has been the subject of numerous rumors and accusations by her neighbors. In mid-August 2022, neighbors reportedly called 911 after Boebert’s husband allegedly threatened them and destroyed their mailbox. The latest accusation came from someone who said they are a neighbor, claiming that, on Aug. 17, 2022, the Republican representative shot and killed her dog.
The rumor stemmed from a now-deleted Facebook post by user Yaritza Mendoza. In the post, she claimed her dog, Omega, wandered onto Boebert’s property and hurt the goats there, and that Boebert subsequently shot, killed, and dumped the pet far away. We reached out to Mendoza to learn more, and we are waiting for a response. (After the post gained attention, Mendoza reportedly told The Daily Mail that she was now unsure of her original story.)
According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Boebert, it was another neighbor — not the congresswoman — who shot the dog on, or near, her property.
Responses to the Viral Rumor
After the post went viral — in part, because of Boebert's critics — we contacted the congresswoman's office. It referred us to the above-mentioned Daily Mail article in which she refuted the claim, saying it was really her neighbor, Brady Hogan, who shot and killed the dog.
Boebert also rejected the accusations on Twitter:
In Boebert's tweets, she said she believes someone filed an incident report about the dog's death, and that that documentation would prove her lack of involvement. We reached out to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office requesting that documentation and any other details about the purported incident. They sent us the following response (emphasis ours):
In reference to the August 17, 2022 shooting of a dog at or near the Boebert residence in Silt, CO, [a] summons was issued for the shooting, (not to Representative Lauren Boebert as she was not the shooter). That case was turned-over to the District Attorney’s Office for further examination and determination of final charges. We do not know the disposition of that case.
The Daily Mail also reportedly spoke to Hogan, who corroborated Boebert's account: that he shot the dog on her property after it attacked goats and other animals. He also said that he killed a Saint Bernard last year (presumably the second dog mentioned in Boebert's tweets) after it had killed a number of animals. We attempted to reach Hogan ourselves to independently verify his experience, and we will update this story when, or if, we hear from him.
"I spoke to police on both occasions and told them I killed the dogs – a Saint Bernard the first time and a husky the second time," he told the Daily Mail. "The animals were both on Lauren Boebert’s property at the time I shot them, but she wasn’t involved at all."
Boebert's office also sent us three screenshots of Facebook messages purportedly authored by another neighbor to Boebert, Tina Bergonzini. That Facebook user appeared to have commented on Mendoza’s post. (The "OP" referenced below could refer to the "original post" or "original poster.") We reached out to Bergonzini, and we are waiting for a response.
One of the screenshots showed a Facebook post supposedly authored by Bergonzini in October 2021 that detailed a story in which her father and Hogan shot a Saint Bernard for killing goats in the neighborhood. This post, according to Boebert’s office, was posted "contemporaneously" with the Saint Bernard's purported death, and indicated that the 2022 incident alleged by Mendoza was not the first time a dog was said to have been killed in the neighborhood for attacking other animals. That October 2021 post can be found here.
Boebert is known for her extreme right-leaning stances, from questioning vaccine effectiveness to completely opposing gun control. She also questioned the results of the 2020 elections, made racist remarks against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, and heckled President Joe Biden during his first State of the Union speech.
This is also not the first time the Boebert family has been caught up in controversy in their neighborhood. According to an Insider report, the family or neighbors have called the sheriff’s office at least four times since 2018 due to various complaints about each other. In one case, neighbors alleged Boebert’s husband destroyed their mailbox and was “threatening” them, and, in other instances, the Boeberts reported missing animals and a brush fire on their property.