King had only been with his new family a week when he got away, then got shot.
Steffen Baldwin, president of the nonprofit Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio, is still trying to piece together the details of what exactly happened to King between the day he was adopted, and the day he found himself back at the shelter with a fractured tibia from a gunshot wound. (In full disclosure – Steffen has blogged for BarkPost in the past.)
He’s also trying to stop this from happening again.
“Our focus as a group is on King,” Steffen says.
The shelter intake sheet indicates that King was shot by a police officer. How exactly that happened is still an evolving story.
Steffen’s heard from various sources that King was tied up outside by his new owner’s boyfriend. The boyfriend then fell asleep. It was the night of July 3, and King is said to have broken free, likely having been spooked by fireworks.
He somehow wound up in a part of Franklin County, Ohio, where the police had been called out because of some gunshots.
What appears to have happened next is that King encountered a police officer. This police officer shot King in the back leg. King’s leg fractured from the shot, but he still ran off, and was found curled up underneath a porch. Animal control collected King on the morning of July 4, eight days after his adoption.
(Steffen and BarkPost have both contacted the Columbus Police Department. We will update this piece with any new information.)
The story gets clearer after that: King’s owner was asked if she’d like him back, but she said she couldn’t afford his veterinary care. Folks from the shelter next asked Steffen if he could take King into his rescue group. He said yes, and brought the dog right to the veterinarian. King’s leg was amputated on Wednesday night.
As of Thursday, King is still at the vet, recovering. He is “stable and in good spirits,” says Steffen.
One of Steffen’s many jobs is teaching workshops on how law enforcement can manage so-called “canine encounters” in ways that hopefully don’t lead to a trip to the vet, or worse. He has a workshop scheduled with the county’s adult probation department for next week.
“King is a perfect example of why this training is so important,” he says.
He’d also like King’s story to demonstrate why it’s not a good idea to tie dogs up outside — doubly on and around July 4, when the proliferation of fireworks leads to so many runaway pooches.
But most of all, Steffen is hoping that King will get a fresh start.
King will go into a foster home soon. A nurse has offered to take him in; good, since he’ll need a lot of bandage changes, in addition to a lot of TLC. He’ll be given lots of time to decompress emotionally, and a whole lot of behavioral work, too.
And after that, once he’s well enough, King will be ready for a family of his own. Because for all the unknowns still at play here, what’s undoubtedly true is that King deserves that.
“Every dog deserves a good life. But King in particular deserves the opportunity to heal both physically and mentally from this trauma, and be placed in a loving forever home,” says Steffen. “King deserves a second chance because he never got a fair first chance.”
All photos via Steffen Baldwin
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