Mystery surrounds dog shot through face

Recovery process starts as incident in Rogue River is investigated
Best Friends Animal Hospital veterinary technician Erin McCreary holds a dog injured by a gunshot as he is cleaned up following an earlier surgery.Bob Pennell

A dog suffering a bloody gunshot wound to the face was found tied to the porch of Rogue River's animal clinic, prompting a police investigation.

The mixed-breed dog was discovered Friday by employees at the Animal Clinic of Rogue River on East Main Street.

The dog was in a pool of his own blood, but appeared to be alert when employees found him that morning, Rogue River police Chief Ken Lewis said.

"He had a large hole in his face, just under the chin," Lewis said. "It was an apparent gunshot wound."

The dog, which had no identification attached to his collar, was rushed to Best Friends Animal Hospital in Talent for emergency surgery.

Veterinarians there took an X-ray and found severe damage to the dog's jaw, according to Dr. Margarita Garcia.

"He had two fractures in his jaw that had to be fixed with a wire," Garcia said. "The wound is still leaking, but he can now eat watered-down food."

Garcia figures the dog is about 2 years old.

Best Friends Animal Hospital workers say the dog has a friendly disposition.

"We all have fallen in love with him," said veterinary technician Erin McCreary. "It's tragic that someone would maliciously injure such a loving and kind animal."

Garcia said the dog could recover from the wound, but it all depends on whether the wire holding the jaw together holds up.

Meanwhile, investigators in Rogue River are looking for clues into the shooting.

Lewis is considering all possible scenarios, including the dog was shot in self-defense. He noted people have the right to defend themselves if a vicious dog is charging.

"It looks like the muzzle of the gun was stuck in the dog's mouth and it was shot execution-style," Lewis said. "But there is a lot of possibilities. We are keeping an open mind."

Police are looking for a woman who stopped Lewis outside the police station on June 19. She told the chief she saw a man walking a dog with a bloody face injury in the downtown area on June 15.

"I didn't know anything about this case yet, because the animal hospital had not contacted me," Lewis said. "We took some minimal information from here, but I would like to speak with her again."

If a suspect is found to have shot the dog without provocation, he or she faces felony charges, Lewis said.

"Felony animal cruelty is a mandatory arrest," he said.

The animal hospital will continue to treat the dog until he is fit for adoption, Garcia said.

"He is a young dog, so he has that going for him," she said. "He could be adopted out."

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call Rogue River police at 541-582-4931.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.


Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.
COUPON OF THE WEEK