By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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“Someone looked in this dog's eyes and shot him,” said Dr. Virginia Johnson of Hadlock Veterinary Clinic.
“And he's such a sweet, sweet dog. I can't imagine why they would have done it.”
Johnson treated at least three gunshot wounds after his owner brought the dog, a boxer mix now named Victor, into the Humane Society office in Port Townsend on May 30.
Officials are hoping the reward will lead to information so they can determine who shot the dog.
“Unless the dog could tell us exactly where it was, we don't have much to go on,” said Deputy Alex Mintz, Jefferson County's animal control officer.
“I don't know that there's any hope of really finding out who did it. But we're trying.”
Two of the bullets appear to have been fired at point-blank range and passed through his nose, sinus and palate before exiting out through the dog's chin, Johnson said.
The dog's wounds were infected when Johnson first treated him but appear to be healing now, she said.
“This one makes me angry because it clearly was someone looking him right in the eyes and shooting,” said Tiami Coleburg, executive director of Rescue Every Dog, the Kingston-based animal shelter that is now caring for Victor.
“This is straight-up cruelty.”
Mintz doubted that the puppy was harassing farm animals or causing some other disturbance when it was shot because the bullets entered its face from above at close proximity.
“He's such a friendly dog. He probably just wandered up to whoever the shooter was, and then they shot him,” Mintz said.
A fragment from one of the bullets, apparently from a .24- or .32-caliber gun, lodged in the knee of the dog's front left leg.
Another entered through the dog's chest and made a tunnel-like scar through his torso.
Johnson said Victor had several other puncture-like wounds, a broken right front leg and scar tissue around his rib cage that indicated “someone had been quite mean to him.”
The dog's owner brought Victor to the Humane Society, saying he had returned home with the injuries after having been missing for several days.
The owner could not afford surgery and turned the dog over to the Humane Society.
The Humane Society contacted Rescue Every Dog for help because the rescue group has more resources for treating such dogs, said Jennifer Haynes, manager of the Humane Society's Port Townsend shelter.
“They just have better fundraising abilities than we do at this point,” Haynes said.
Coleburg said Victor is staying in a foster home now.
The hope is that the dog will be adopted into a good home after recovering from surgeries and injuries.
“The biggest issue we're having now is that his palate has a big hole in it that goes through to his sinus cavity,” Coleburg said.
“That's making it harder to keep his infection clear.”
Victor is now on a heavy-duty regimen of antibiotics.
Surgery for the dog has cost several thousand dollars, Coleburg said.
Another surgery may be needed, and Rescue Every Dog is soliciting donations to foot the veterinarian bill on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-victorFB.
The agency also takes donations for animals on its website at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-victor.
Those with information about the shooting are asked to phone the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 360-385-3831, ext. 1.
Reward posters will be circulated around the county, Haynes said.
Coleburg said those who abuse dogs often graduate to other violent crimes.
“We want to be able to find out why he or she would do something like this,” Coleburg said.
“Somebody that could look a puppy in the eye and do this needs some sort of help because I can tell you, a person that does that is likely to shoot something else,” she said.
“If nothing else, we want to help them get that help.”
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.