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Family dog found shot in Merlin

Courtesy photo Septiembre Rendon and her Chihuahua Akashi. Akashi was found dead with from a gunshot wound, and neighbors are now worried for their pets.

When Akashi, her brown and tan Chihuahua mix, wandered from her mom’s house in Merlin Saturday night, Septiembre Rendon was relieved he was wearing his red collar with her phone number engraved on a bone-shaped metal tag.

But after spending all of Saturday night and Sunday searching for her 5-year-old emotional support animal, Rendon discovered a Facebook post about a Chihuahua, found deceased, with a bullet in his back.

Learning her dog had been shot has put Rendon and other neighbors on edge, concerned for the safety of other pets in the rural area.

Christie Schwind found Akashi’s body just inside her property near Russell Road Sunday evening. Used to hearing the occasional gunshot in their neck of the woods, neither Schwind nor Rendon recall hearing any shots Saturday or Sunday.

Schwind said it was heartbreaking to find someone’s pet shot to death in her front yard.

“The poor dog had been shot with what seemed like probably a .22 at close range from overhead. I was leaving out the gate and saw there was a dog that was dead. I saw the red collar and got out to see if there was a phone number,” Schwind said.

“I called the number, but there was no answer at first. I reported it to animal control and put it on the (lost and found pets) Facebook page.”

The first comment, said Schwind, was a screenshot of a “lost dog” post about the Chihuahua that lived just a few houses away.

“I put him in a bag and had her meet me. It was so heartbreaking. She was crying. … It was just so sad to think somebody had done this and put this family through that,” Schwind said.

Rendon said she was devastated to lose her pet of nearly four years. “I’ve been very emotional about this because I just have no clue what kind of monster would shoot a little dog like Akashi. He wouldn’t have hurt a fly, and he would just run up to anybody that would even acknowledge him or give him a little bit of attention,” she said.

“I rescued him from an abusive owner, so he had a really rough start in life, and even after all that he still just had the sweetest temperament.”

Rendon said neighbors occasionally talk about bigger dogs in the neighborhood wandering around or chasing livestock, but Akashi was friendly with other dogs, cats and livestock, she said.

“The worst thing he could have done would have been just annoying somebody by sniffing around, checking things out. He was a really little guy. If they would have just called the number on his tag, I would have came and picked up my dog. … I would have loved to come and pick him up,” she said.

Rendon’s mother, Cyndi Rendon, said the family will notify the police if they find out who killed Akashi.

“He was a really sweet dog who didn’t deserve to die like that. This has broken my daughter’s heart. Whoever did this, they killed someone’s emotional support animal and a family member,” said Cyndi Rendon.

“We always tried to keep an extra close eye on him because he was notorious for wandering around. We called him the Houdini dog. He was just a really sweet little dog.”

Schwind, who reported Akashi’s death to Josephine County officials, said she was now concerned for her own dogs.

“I have huge dogs, and they get out sometimes. Now I’m scared they’re going to get out and somebody is gonna shoot them. If there’s somebody who lives near me, shooting dogs, it’s hard not to just be really concerned,” Schwind said.

“People say all kinds of things, like they can shoot them if they’re chasing livestock or whatever, but even if it was chasing livestock, this was a little chihuahua. What’s a chihuahua going to do? To shoot a defenseless animal is just crazy to me. They could’ve grabbed the dog and called the owners.

“The sad thing is just that there are people out there who could have such a lack of regard for life. I don’t know what this world is coming to.”

Anyone with information about Akashi’s death is asked to contact Josephine County Sheriff’s Department, 541-474-5123, and reference incident number 2106140056. To contact Rendon, send an email to sepparendon@yahoo.com

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.