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It’s hard to believe that someone could look this sweet guy in the eye and then shoot him in the head with a .22 but that’s exactly what happened on Sunday, November 28th, 2009.

The story begins the last week of November.  Al, who lived on a farm in rural Audubon County (Iowa), had been hanging out at the neighbor’s farm for several days.  The neighbor attempted to reach the owner with no luck.  Al killed a few of the neighbor’s chickens so the neighbor called the owner again.  He finally reached him.  The owner said he had been unavailable and had not had anyone caring for Al.  Al was probably hungry so that’s why he wandered to the neighbor’s farm. 

The neighbor told the owner that the dog couldn’t stay because he had killed some chickens so Al went back to his owner’s farm.  Sunday night, the owner called the neighbor and stated that he had just shot the dog but the dog ran off and that he (the neighbor) should “finish him off” if he saw him.  A day later, Al went back to his owner’s farm and the owner shot at him again (we don’t think he hit him because we could not find a second bullet). 

This time, Al ran to the neighbor’s house and the neighbor, seeing the wound on his face, took him in and contacted a rescue group he had worked with in the past.  This group gave PETS the info about Al and on Thursday morning, PETS had Al and he was on his way to safety.

PETS immediately took Al to the Stuart Vet.  An x-ray showed that the bullet had entered right below his right eye, fragmented into many little pieces with the largest part of the bullet then lodging back under his right ear.  On Friday, Al underwent surgery to remove the majority of the fragments and the bullet and is now recovering from his ordeal. Al has staples in his head and despite the fact that he has seen the bad side of humans and has been mistreated for some time, he is a gentle, loving  giant.  He just wants to be loved.  Al will be available for adoption very soon and PETS would like to find him a wonderful home where he can finally get the love and companionship he deserves.

Once all of the facts about the incident had been compiled, PETS contacted the Audubon County Sheriff’s Department to report this case of animal neglect.  Unfortunately, in Iowa, you can shoot your own dog.  (In fact, you can shoot any dog that is not wearing a collar and current rabies tag.)  However, by shooting him and then allowing him to suffer for days because he did not kill him, we requested that the owner be charged with a serious misdemeanor for animal neglect.  After talking with a Sheriff’s Deputy, it appears that this case will go nowhere and the owner will not be charged nor will he have to pay for the medical bills.

Al’s medical bills will total around $300 and that’s at a tremendous discount because of the Stuart Vet Clinic.  The Stuart Vet has been absolutely wonderful and we don’t know what we would have done without them.  With the many animals currently in our care, we desperately need assistance helping Al.  Please consider making a donation to help Al.

PETS is a small rescue organization in rural Iowa.  Our funds are very limited.  We have been inundated with owner-surrenders and the majority of those animals have had no prior vet work done.  This Christmas, please don’t forget PETS when you are making donations.  Sending donations to large charities is wonderful, but don’t forget that the small charities, like PETS, are the ones right here making a difference.  Without support, we will not be able to continue to assist the many animals and the residents in our area.  If you have ever contacted PETS for help with an animal issue, please consider making a donation. 

Thank you for your support and thank you for helping Al! We hope we can continue to do this much-needed work in 2010.

12.19.09:  Bullet has been adopted!!   

Stay tuned to Channel 13 to see the follow-up story in the next few days.

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