An Alaskan Malamute mix dog — adopted through a New Jersey rescue group — was shot and killed by a Pennsylvania hunter who said they thought it was a coyote.

The pet named “Hunter” was walking in an orange harness alongside its owner and another family dog on a marked trail in Pennsylvania, according to Michael Hodanish, President of Howling Woods Farm in Ocean County.

The Heller family has called for the deer hunter who shot their pet on Jan. 7 to lose his license or at a minimum, be required to undergo “additional training.”

So far, the Pennsylvania Game Commission declined any action, saying there were no “law violations,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

'Hunter,' a Malamute mix, was adopted in NJ by a PA family (Courtesy Jennifer Heller)
'Hunter,' a Malamute mix, was adopted in NJ by a PA family. Seen here in October 2022 (Courtesy Jennifer Heller)

Family visited NJ before bringing wolfdog home with them

The farm in Jackson is a rescue for wolfdogs and “Northern breeds” such as Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute, Hodanish said.

The Hellers had visited the NJ facility a few times, according to the same Inquirer report, before taking Hunter home with them to Berks County, PA.

The tragic shooting happened on trails overseen by the Reading Area Water Authority.

“I suspect the Pennsylvania Game Commission Standard for issuing hunting licenses is questionable if they do not seek remedy for a licensee who shoots and kills a house dog, especially one that is walking along a human path with a bright orange harness next to his home companion dog,” Hodanish said in a response to New Jersey 101.5.

A request to the state Department of Environmental Protection about what existing hunting regulations in New Jersey might apply to such a harrowing situation was not immediately answered on Thursday.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Bands That Broke Up in 2022

Sadly, these bands either announced a breakup, went on indefinite hiatus or broke up entirely in 2022.

13 Musicians Who've Served in the US Military

Actors Who Turned Down Major Marvel Roles

Not everyone wants to be a part of the Marvel universe. These actors all got offered high-profile gigs in Marvel movies and turned them down.

The 99 top paying jobs in New Jersey

How much do you make? These are the occupations in New Jersey with the highest median annual compensation. Source: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

More From Beach Radio