Parasites are a common problem for pets, so this dog owner wasn’t overly concerned about the marks on her canine companion. However, the more she looked at the punctures, the more she noticed that there was something unusual about them. Then suddenly she realized what they were, and she had to act fast.
The woman in question was Hayden Howard, a 24-year-old mother who lives in Seymour, Indiana. She and her son, Noah, share their home with Jackson, an English mastiff puppy. And one Saturday night in April 2017, Howard noticed something unusual about her dog.
Mind you, it wasn’t that Jackson was acting differently; indeed, if anything, there was no change in his behavior. But after spending some time in their enclosed yard, Howard saw that the dog seemed to be covered in something. At first, though, she thought little of it.
“He had some marks on him, and we thought they were bug bites,” Howard told Fox News in April 2017. And since Jackson was apparently unconcerned by the marks, naturally, his family didn’t worry either. Nevertheless, Howard decided to keep an eye on the family dog.
Subsequently, over the weekend that followed, she became more worried about Jackson’s “bug bites.” It was then that she took a closer look at the marks and realized they weren’t bites at all. Indeed, Jackson’s fur was hiding something far worse.
“[On] Saturday night, I started noticing holes on him,” Howard explained to Fox News. And although she didn’t know what could have caused them, it was clear that the punctures needed attention. As a result, Jackson was taken to the veterinarian the following Monday.
The dog was seen at the Seymour Animal Hospital by Dr. Steve Sunbury, who revealed what the marks were. The veterinarian must certainly have been troubled when he discovered the truth – but not as troubled as Howard. In fact, the holes were not bug bites but, rather, evidence of sadistic animal cruelty.
The punctures that peppered poor Jackson were wounds made by a BB gun. “I was completely shocked that they were pulling BBs and pellets out of my dog,” Howard told Whas11 in April 2017. But the only explanation was that someone had been intentionally targeting Jackson.
Although BB guns are not as powerful as regular firearms, they can still be very dangerous. The weapons are powered by air canisters and use compressed gas or air to fire small metal projectiles. Moreover, in the wrong hands they can cause serious harm.
The risk of severe injury furthermore increases with the projectile’s velocity. Within a specific range, each projectile can damage bone or even inflict enough damage to kill. And as Howard looked on, Dr. Sunbury was pulling more and more metal objects out of Jackson.
In fact, a total of 21 BB projectiles and seven metal pellets were removed from Jackson’s body that day. All told, the dog was suffering from in excess of 50 wounds. “I was in shock; I didn’t even know what to think,” Howard told Fox News.
“There was one under his eyelid, there was one in his ear, one in his knee,” she continued. “They were all over [and] underneath of him. [The vet] came out there and… showed me all these little BBs. I just didn’t know what to say or what to do.”
Understandably disturbed by the attack, Howard contacted the Seymour Police Department (SPD). Moreover, the authorities were shocked by the level of cruelty on display and went to the Howard yard to investigate. It was there that they discovered evidence of the vicious attack.
Police officers searching the property found a number of fired BB projectiles wedged in one of the yard’s trees. And not only could these help the department to find the potential perpetrator or perpetrators, but they also revealed something else. The pellets allowed officers to estimate the number of shots that had been aimed at Jackson.
“[There were] 20-some pulled out of him, 20-some that were probably still in him,” Howard told Fox News. “And then over 20-some that probably hit him and bounced off. There were probably over 60-some that actually were shot at him.”
Furthermore, the pellets in the tree also indicated the direction that the shots were fired from, and the police followed the trajectory to Howard’s next door neighbor. It was enough evidence to get them a warrant to search the property, and sure enough, they found something.
Well, to be more precise, they found a lot of things. The SPD uncovered physical evidence that could be related to the shooting, but it has remained confidential. At any rate, two guns, a BB and a pellet gun, were found in a man’s possession, while he was also arrested for another offense.
C.J. Foster, detective sergeant of the SPD, told Fox News, “Additionally, officers and detectives located methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.” The neighbor, who has been named as Tim Woodward, was taken into custody, although no animal cruelty charges have been proven as yet.
Police are, however, hopeful that forensic evidence will lead them to discover the truth behind the shooting. Meanwhile, Howard is baffled as to why anyone would hurt Jackson. “He’s a big baby. He’s shy,” she told WDRB in April 2017. “But other than that he’s a lovable dog. He loves my son, Noah.”
At the time of writing, a $500 reward was being offered for information leading to charges relating to the attack. And while the investigation is still underway, Sunbury said that Jackson wasn’t suffering anymore. The most important thing is that after a course of pain medication and antibiotics, the dog is now set to make a complete recovery.