Had rancher Ruth Robinson and neighbour Wayne Beck enjoyed a more cordial relationship, his dog would likely be alive today and a judge wouldn't have found her guilty this week of its unlawful death.
But they didn't get along and this conflict likely played a part in what went down June 5, 2011.
When she spotted him running after her cattle, it was only the second time Robinson had seen Buddy the dog. She'd never witnessed him chasing her herd before, court heard, yet after watching him briefly give chase, she raised her .22 rifle and put a bullet through the 45-kilogram dog.
At the point of his death, Buddy had lost interest in the chase and was sniffing at dead fish along the lakeshore.
Dogs that chase tend to be single-minded in their pursuit and not so easily distracted. Living rurally, I've frequently seen neighbours' dogs run after deer; one pair of border collies was particularly bad.
When in pursuit, there's no stopping them. They run full out, heeding no amount of shouting to stop, tongues wagging as they bolt into the forest after terrified deer.
It was hugely frustrating, made worse since speaking to the owners, who had as much regard for respecting private property as the dogs did, proved pointless.
Point is, once dogs are in chase mode, the wild creature within overtakes. So it should be easy to differentiate between this type of dog and one so uninvested in the chase that it stops to sniff dead fish, like Buddy.
But ranchers depend on their livestock to support themselves, so it's understandable how this would be even more emotional for someone like Robinson, who had also endured a previous experience with a pit bull injuring her dog and her husband.
According to the Livestock Act, a rancher can kill a dog "running at large and attacking or viciously pursuing livestock," including cattle, goats, horses, sheep, swine or game.
Buddy was running at large, but provincial court Judge Chris Cleavely said there was no evidence the dog was biting cattle or acting viciously.
Some in the ranching community, like B.C. Cattleman's Association general manager Kevin Boon, suggest the ruling has confused ranchers and should prompt a review of that section of the act.
But the act is clear - the dog must be running after and attacking livestock. To add stipulations seems unnecessary.
Back to the neighbourly relations bit.
If the average person saw a neighbour's dog chasing her cattle for the first time, wouldn't a more rational reaction (than grabbing a gun and shooting the dog dead) be to pick up the phone or go over and tell the neighbour what the dog was doing, explain why it's a problem and what the consequences might be?
But if you are already feuding with your neighbour, this cloud of fury could certainly play a part in what happens next, as in this case.
The long and short of it is, the law is fair, the ruling was just and as with every other challenge, one must apply reason and not let emotion rule potentially life-altering situations.
And, as I've said before, do what you must to get along with your neighbours. Words, rather than gunfire, may have been able to solve this dispute.