Police say a Unionville man pumped a .40-caliber round into a neighbor's 6-month-old dog Thursday night, claiming the dog had charged at him.
One of the puppy's owners, Jessica Iribarren, rushed the dog to an emergency veterinarian. She said the puppy, a pit bull named Bully, is being cared for at Hamptonburgh Animal Hospital in Campbell Hall.
The incident happened just before 8 p.m. Thursday on Orchard Street in Unionville. According to state police, homeowner Travis Stocker told troopers he was mowing his lawn when he saw a couple of pit bulls running around near the backyard, where his toddler daughter was. He said he fired a warning shot from a .40-caliber handgun to scare off the dogs, but one of them circled around and came at him, so he shot it.
Stocker's phone number is not listed.
Iribarren said her 4-year-old niece, who was visiting, had accidentally let the dogs out. Scott Walker, Iribarren's boyfriend, said he was inside with their 6-month-old baby when he heard two gunshots. He said he stepped outside and saw his neighbor taking aim at Bully.
"My dog was running away from him, and he shot him in the back," Walker said.
Iribarren got home just after the shooting.
"I just put the dog in the car and drove him to the hospital," she said. "That's like my family member that they just shot."
State police said the incident is under investigation, and the district attorney's office will determine if charges will be filed.
Iribarren said the dogs — Bully and 9-month-old Blaze, a female pit — have gotten loose before by jumping over a fence, but they're very friendly.
Iribarren and Walker said they're out $1,000 in veterinary bills, and Bully will have to stay at the vet to recuperate. The bullet missed any vital organs, Iribarren said, so Bully should recover.
"He's just in so much pain," she said.