ROGUE RIVER — A Gold Hill man faces a felony animal abuse charge after allegedly shooting his bulldog in the mouth with a rifle and then leaving the animal tied outside a veterinary clinic.
Jayson Wayne King, 27, gave Rogue River police and his girlfriend inconsistent stories about what led him to shoot the dog on June 14, police said.
King said the dog attacked some pet goats on his property in the 3000 block of Galls Creek Road in Gold Hill, said police Chief Ken Lewis. King said he shot the dog from 30 yards away with a .243-caliber rifle to protect the goats, Lewis said.
The bullet entered the dog's mouth and burst out the bottom of its jaw, said Lewis, who isn't buying King's story.
"If you think about it, the dog would have to have its mouth open at the time the shot was fired," Lewis said. "And then the bullet would have to enter at an angle suggesting the shooter was above the target."
Lewis said he believes King placed the barrel directly into the dog's mouth and fired.
"You can shoot a dog in self-defense or if you are protecting livestock," Lewis said. "I don't think that's the case here."
Champ, as the dog has been named by staff caring for him at the Sanctuary One animal shelter in the Applegate, shows no signs that he will suffer long-term effects from the bullet.
Champ initially was taken to Best Friends Animal Hospital in Talent for emergency surgery. Based on clinic X-rays, the shot most likely was "execution style" from close range, Lewis said. The bullet fractured the jawbone in two places, forcing the surgeon to wire it together.
King was interviewed inside the Jackson County Jail, where he was lodged Wednesday on an unrelated domestic violence charge, Lewis said.
Lewis said his department will recommend additional charges of aggravated animal abuse, a felony, attempted aggravated animal abuse and animal abandonment.
King's girlfriend was cited for animal abandonment. Lewis believes she was aware the dog was left outside the clinic.
"It's illegal to drop a dog off at a location and leave, even if it is a veterinary office," Lewis said.
Lewis said the girlfriend was not home when King reportedly shot the dog.
Champ continues to recover at Sanctuary One, where he is receiving obedience training and is socializing with other dogs. Once he's properly trained, he may be able to be adopted.
Inquiries about the possibility of adopting Champ can be made by calling Sanctuary One at 541-899-8627 or emailing info@SanctuaryOne.org.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.