The fire was reported just before 8 a.m. Friday morning on Deer Creek road about 4 miles past the Deer Creek Shooting Range, according to Missoula County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Johnson.
The couple had returned Friday morning to their Chevy Blazer, which they’d left there two days earlier, and saw the Blazer burning and a green SUV leaving the area, he said.
Deputies stopped a green SUV and detained its two occupants, Antonio Robinson, 28, and Chelsea Chafee, 25. A tent, boots and reloading equipment that had been in the victims’ Blazer were found in the green SUV, he said.
Robinson and Chaffee were being held in the Missoula County Detention Center. They face charges of theft, criminal mischief and felony arson, Johnson said.
The Blazer’s owners, he said, “are upset over today’s incident but more than anything they want to recover their dogs.”
One of the owners, Luke Kasun, said he runs his hounds in that area for exercise, and that usually they have telemetry collars so that he can track them. But they weren’t wearing those collars earlier this week.
“I feel sick thinking of them running around out there,” he said. “Another concern of mine is wolves.”
One dog is a black, brown and white treeing walker named Jill, and the other is black and tan, with a tan face, named Candy. Both have collars with identification and are friendly, he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the owners at 498-0377.