The neighbor of a Hawkins County man accused of shooting his dog in the face brought it to the HCHS, where it was taken for medical treatment. The dog has since been named "Riley" and is expected to fully recover. (submitted photo)
ROGERSVILLE — Neighbors of a man who allegedly shot his daughter’s dog in the face Thursday brought the dog to the Hawkins County Humane Society, and it has been treated and is expected to recover.
Humane Society workers have since named the female dog “Riley” — and say that despite having most of her right jaw teeth blown out or shattered, she is eating soft food very well, and as soon as she is healed she’ll be placed up for adoption.
Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said he has assigned a detective to investigate Riley’s shooting, which took place in the Stanley Valley community of Hawkins County.
The Times-News won’t release the suspect’s name pending the outcome of the investigation.
Humane Society assistant manager Sandy Behnke said Sunday she isn’t optimistic about the suspect being prosecuted.
“We know who did it, but the people who actually brought the dog in is their neighbors, and they said they’re afraid of him, so they’re not going to release any names,” Behnke said. “The (alleged shooter) got the dog for his daughter, and I guess it just became a nuisance. He shot it in the face, but he didn’t kill it, and it ran to the neighbor’s house.”
The neighbors then called the HCSO, which then contacted the Humane Society.
Although the Humane Society doesn’t take in injured animals, board of directors chairman Eddie McNally directed his staff to get the dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Dr. John Slaughter from the Rogersville Animal Hospital agreed to see Riley and was able to remove most of the bullet fragments, although they believe there is some left behind.
Riley was stitched up and is currently recovering on antibiotics.
An accused dog fighter received a plea deal last week in which a felony charge was dismissed and he received probation. A big reason for that deal was the lack of a witness to the alleged dog fighting.
“The first officer who came out said, ‘If I go to this guy and ask, did you shoot your dog, he’s going to say no. We’ll go to court and he’s going to get a slap on the wrist’,” Behnke said. “(The officer) said, ‘I’d love to go over there right now and arrest him right now, but no one is going to come forward and be a witness’."
Behnke added, The guy’s wife told the neighbors, ‘Yeah, he shot it’ but they’re not going to admit it to police. There’s going to be a detective assigned, but unless there’s a witness who comes forward I don’t know what the police can do.”
Behnke said the bullet, which went in under Riley’s right eye, shattered the inside of her mouth.
Fortunately her tongue, throat, eye, and nose weren’t damaged.
“She’s fine,” Behnke said. “She’s eating like she’s never eaten before. She’s the friendliest dog, the sweetest dog you’ll ever see. She’s just a lover, and what happened to her is heartbreaking, but I think now that we’ve got her and she’s being cared for, she’s got a really good chance.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to assist with Riley’s medical bills and upkeep can call (423) 727-6538 or sending donations to HCHS, 5180 Hwy 11-W, Rogersville, TN 37857.