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Therapy dog shot in East Hill neighborhood, owner searching for answers

Therapy dog shot in East Hill neighborhood, owner searching for answers

A Pensacola family is warning other residents in the East Hill area of Pensacola after their therapy dog was found shot in the leg. Kerri Whitlock and her flat coated retriever, Dexter, have a special bond.

She said, "He really feels human emotions. If people are sick or hurting, he will put his head on them and love them, very gentle," said Kerri.

That's why she was so surprised when he was shot in her neighborhood. He got out of their backyard near 19th and Jordan Street. He was missing for about an hour and a half.

While she and her husband were frantically looking for him, a neighbor found him near their house limping on his leg and bleeding. They took him immediately to the Animal Hospital of Pensacola. Veterinarian Tracy Millhouse treated him when he came in.

"By the time we got him sedated to clean it out, I was like, 'Wow, I can fit my whole finger in it.' When we x-rayed it, it was very clearly a bullethole that went through just above the wrist and through the ulna, and shattered the bone," Millhouse said.

The dog hobbled back to their house on his hurt leg. They have no idea who shot him or where it happened.

Kerri can't imagine why anyone would want to hurt him. Dexter is a trained therapy dog. He also has experience in search and rescue operations.

"That's why it was shocking. I've seen him sit at the bed of people as they are passing and with children, and being so caring and loving. It absolutely broke my heart someone could do that to him," she said.

It makes Kerri fearful for not only pets in East Hill, but also her neighbors.

"It's scary, heartbreaking in our neighborhood. That someone would not only hurt an animal, but discharge a firearm near where families live," she said.

They are watching Dexter's leg closely. Kerri said it's still possible he may lose the leg, but they are hoping it doesn't come to that.

If you know anything about this incident, you are asked to call the Pensacola Police Department.

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