Owner, police seek answers after dog shot with pellet gun

English mastiff recovering following incident; reward offered for information

The reward for information about the person or people who shot an English mastiff puppy 27 times with a pellet gun sometime over the weekend on Seymour’s far west side has grown to more than $500.

The dog, named Jackson, is owned by Hayden Howard, and he survived the attack that occurred in the fenced-in backyard of a home in the 400 block of Vehslage Road.

Howard said she first noticed a couple of holes in her dog, who was tied up, on Saturday night.

“I wasn’t sure what (the holes) were, so I googled it, and it said something about botfly,” she said. Botflies can leave larvae in cavities or the flesh of mammals.

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On Sunday, she had a friend, Seneca McKinney, look at Jackson. McKinney, who lives in Freetown and breeds English mastiffs, sold Jackson to Howard when he was 8 weeks old. He is now nearly a year old, Howard said.

The two were unable to determine what was causing the holes, Howard said, so on Monday afternoon, she decided to take him to the veterinarian.

The vet eventually dug 20 BBs and seven pellets out of the dog, Howard said.

“It just baffles me that someone would want to do that to him,” she said. “He’s not a vicious dog. He’s lovable and just lays there in the backyard. No one has ever come to me with a problem about him. He’s always been shy, even around me.”

Howard, however, said the dog likely was shot at close range because of the accuracy of some of the shots.

“He had one under his eyelid, and he could have been blinded,” she said.

But Jackson did not act like anything was wrong, Howard said.

Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott declined to release a lot of details about the incident but said Officer Jeremy Soliday continues to conduct interviews in connection with the incident reported to police at 8:37 p.m. Monday, Abbott said.

If police arrest anyone in the case, Abbott said they could face a charge of cruelty to an animal. That charge could be a felony or misdemeanor depending upon the circumstances, he said.

McKinney, who has been spreading the word about Jackson on Facebook, said she is glad Jackson survived the attack.

“He’s going to be all right,” McKinney said. “He’s on pain meds.”

Shawn Malone, a local business owner and city councilman, started the reward for information by donating $100.

Malone and his wife have two dogs, including a mastiff.

“We are a fur baby family,” he said. “I have owned a mastiff the last 15 years of my life. They are beautiful creatures.”

As an animal advocate, Malone said he is working on updating Seymour’s animal ordinances to increase protections for pets.

“From spending time at animal shelters to having conversations with our police chief and animal control officer, pets are near and dear to my heart,” he said.

Howard said she’s just been amaze at the response of people willing to help her out because of what happened to Jackson.

How to help

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Seymour Police Department at 812-522-1234.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.