“Does anyone know this dog from the area? It belongs to someone, but who & do they know if they lost it, that it’s been found? Chocolate labs aren’t your everyday dog so somebody knows; your doing no good by protecting them. So please if you know anything at all, contact Joe Harmon, chief deputy with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office. Thanks!” 

Outside the Twin City Animal Shelter, a friendly, tail-wagging chocolate lab comes to the fence, begging for affection. As she turns her head, a twinge of shock ensues — her neck, chest and both ears are covered in recent, still-open wounds. Gun shot wounds.

Twin City Animal Shelter volunteer Teah Pray is absolutely stunned that someone would inflict the injuries they did upon this chocolate lab found Sunday off Camp Five Road with gunshot wounds.

On Sunday night Heath and Dusty Pinske and their family were four-wheeling in a remote area off Camp Five Road when suddenly their son Carson said, “Hey, there’s a dog!” A closer look revealed a wet chocolate lab laying listless in the grass and barely moving.

As they tried to help, they discovered several wounds on the animal, which was covered in dried blood and still bleeding. They gathered the dog up, took her to town, called the Twin City Animal Shelter and after contacting Dr. Ken Ireland of Northern Hills Veterinary Clinic, decided that because the dog was not bleeding profusely at that time and that her injuries at that point did not appear to be life threatening, they would take her to the vet in the morning.

“I wasn’t sure if they were gunshot wounds or not,” Ireland said. “Most of the time, you just have one hole. This dog came in with multiple holes all over its body. I thought it had been attacked by an animal. To rule that out, we did x-rays and you can actually see metal. We found multiple sites of metal of different sizes. It appeared the dog had been shot more than once.

“She was pretty miserable when they brought her in,” Ireland added. “A pellet type wound, maybe buckshot is in her liver area, a bigger pellet from perhaps a pellet gun created a big wound on her chest. It entered the dog’s thorax on the left side and the bullet stayed in there. There appears to be one entry and one exit wound in one other area and three to four metal fragments in the neck.

Practically anywhere a person would normally put their hands to pet a dog or show them affection is now shaved, revealing wounds.

Ireland is still not certain if the holes in Dusty’s ears are gunshot wounds or the result of an animal attack, since there is no metal.

Whether Dusty the dog was dumped and shot, abused by an owner or shot at by a property owner, her story is still speculative.

Joe Harmon, chief deputy with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said that in a case like this there are many unknown circumstances surrounding the incident.

“There are such a variety of circumstances, so many variables we don’t know regarding whether or not a crime was committed,” Harmon said. “The law says that if you have livestock and a dog is attacking or worrying that livestock, then you can put the animal down.”

Harmon said that while there are animal cruelty laws against abusing animals, again, in this case, it would depend on what the circumstances and variables are……

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