EAST ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- For a young, black-and-white pit bull mix, just the right person came driving by at just the right time Wednesday afternoon.
Otherwise, the dog some assumed to be dead might actually be dead.
The trouble began Tuesday afternoon when police were called to the 900 block of East Broadway in East St. Louis after the dog bit an eight-year-old boy, who witnesses claim had been throwing rocks at him.
'The dog came across the street and the next thing you heard was pop, pop, pop,' said Cynthia Wilson, who witnessed the shooting and claims the shots were fired by an East St. Louis police officer.
The dog was apparently left for dead.
"It`s really sad because they didn`t have to shoot the dog," said witness Paula Hamilton. "They could have just called the dog catcher."
Luckily, the executive director of Gateway Pet Guardians, which feeds stray dogs in East St. Louis, was driving through the area Wednesday afternoon, and just happened to see the struggling dog in a field almost 24 hours after being shot.
With the help of her husband who had been in the truck with her, they patiently and gently rescued the dog and rushed him to Hillside Animal Hospital in St. Louis.
Neighbors watching the rescue became so angry, police were called to calm the crowd.
Fox 2 News overheard an officer wearing a hat reading 'Asst. Chief' on the phone shouting at someone about the incident.
"We should have down something proper. How do we shoot a dog and leave a damn dog in a field?" the officer asked. "And you wonder why these people say the (expletive) they say about us."
X-rays of the dog, who the rescuers named Colt, as in the gun maker, reveal he was hit by two shots; one in the shoulder, and one in the head, though it appears the bullet did not penetrate the skull into his brain.
"He was fighting us to get in the car so he has got some oomph left in him," said Jaime Case, Executive Director of Gateway Pet Guardians. "I am hopeful all those things mean he is on his way to recovery."
The director of St. Clair County Animal Control, Jim Jacquot, says the grandmother of the boy who was bitten told investigators she thought the dog was dead but wasn`t sure where to find its body. That left doctors little choice but to begin rabies treatments on the child.
Now that the dog has been found alive, the dog can be quarantined for several days to determine if it is rabid. If the dog does not survive the shooting, brain tissue tests can quickly reveal the rabies status of the dog. If the dog is found not to be rabid, the boy may not have to complete the rest of the five shot treatment.
The dog had been microchipped, so investigators know the name of its owner, who is from Belleville.
If the dog survives, and is healthy, authorities will determine whether he is vicious. If so, he may be euthanized. If not, he could be returned to the owner, or put up for adoption.
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