Dog survives after getting shot in ear [UPDATED]Published 11:00am Thursday, February 2, 2012 Updated 11:06am Thursday, February 2, 2012
A rescued shelter dog is lucky to be alive after she was shot early Saturday morning and the dog’s owners are offering a reward to anyone who can identify the shooter.
Gail Pratt of rural Clitherall, let Midge, a 3-year-old terrier mix, outside at about 9 a.m., according to Gail’s husband, Jim, and a few minutes later heard a single gunshot.
She called for Midge — who she refers to as “Barbie’s best friend” — and the dog showed up on the door step a few minutes later with a bloody ear. Thinking the dog had cut her ear on a fence, Gail took Midge to Lakes Veterinary Hospital in Battle Lake.
Dr. Jeffrey Lukken told her the dog had a gunshot wound, likely from a .22-caliber gun. The minimal damage to the ear was the basis for his decision.
“It really was a slam dunk,” Lukken said, “because you could see where the bullet creased the hair behind the ear.”
The bullet went through the dog’s right ear, just a quarter inch from her skull. Another inch and the Pratts would have had to bury Midge, said Jim.
“It was very close to her skull,” he said. “She’s a very lucky dog, indeed.”
What is most bothersome to Jim is not knowing what happened.
“It could have been an accident,” he said. “Or maybe she was mistaken for a coyote. Perhaps she wandered onto someone’s property and they over-reacted because they didn’t like seeing a dog there.”
Jim discounts the mistaken identity. A neighbor who happened to be walking his dog at the time of the shot, told the Pratts he heard barking, the shot, then silence.
“So the shooter knew that it was a dog,” Jim said.
There are several neighbors with livestock and Jim said it’s possible the shooter thought the dog was wild and chasing the animals. It is legal to shoot dogs if they are chasing livestock, he said, but he discounts that, too.
“Midge wears tags that clearly have our (phone) number,” he said. “They could have called us. If she was somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be, that’s our fault. We would take responsibility and work with the homeowner to make sure it didn’t happen again. A gun shot instead of a call is an overreaction.”
Jim walked around his property looking for tracks, and talked with a Department of Natural Resources officer and an Otter Tail County Sheriff’s deputy, but was unable to make any determinations about what happened.
The couple has put up flyers detailing what they know and is offering a $100 reward to anyone who can help identify the person who shot their dog.
“We just want to know what happened for our own peace of mind,” Jim wrote on the flyer. “If it was malicious, we want to stop it so another innocent animal doesn’t suffer the same fate.”