Custody Battle Over Shot Dog

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BONNE TERRE, MO (KTVI)-- It’s a custody battle over a dog.  The dog was shot with a rifle and was starving, but rescued in Bonne Terre in March, nursed back to health and then adopted.

Now, a Washington County man has come forward saying the dog was stolen from him and he wants him back.

The dog is a lovable a pit bull found along Grove Avenue in Bonne Terre about 10 miles away from his original home in Washington County.

A police officer rescued it, the dog wounded from a rifle shot that went in through his back and out  through his face.  The dog had no tags;  no microchip; but now  two names and two owners.

“He’s attached to my hip,” said Melissa Johnston, with the dog she called Bullet.

Johnston adopted Bullet from the Canines in Crisis shelter in De Soto, which took the dog in, and covered his vet bills.

Bullet’s story would seem to have a happy ending, obviously in great health and spirits with Johnston.

“He’s a lucky boy,” said Jeri Schnelker of Canines in Crisis.

“I’m surprised he’s alive.  He shouldn’t have been alive.  He was almost dead when they found him,” Johnston said.

But this is only half of “bullet’s” story.

“I love this dog.  It’s my life,” said Travis Moussette, the dog’s original owner, who lives in Washington County about 10 miles from where the dog was found wounded and starving.

Moussette said Bullet was actually his dog, Hunter.

“ Yep, Hunter dog, is what I called him.”

He said Hunter was stolen in early March.  He found out Hunter was still alive, just as the story hit the Farmington newspaper.

A Bonne Terre police officer rescued the wounded dog along Grove Avenue March 10th.

By the time Moussette could claim him, Johnston, who fostered the dog during his recovery, had legally adopted him from Canines in Crisis.

“I  would think he would be blessed to know that his dog has got a good home, has been medically taken care of, is alive.  My heart goes out to the family.  If they loved the dog they would have taken proper precautions to keep him safe,” Schnelker said.

“Bring my dog back.  Give him back.  I love him, too.  You might love him.  I love him more...I love that dog to death.  I’ve had him for a long time.  He’s born on my birthday,” pleaded Moussette.

“I feel that if someone truly cared about a pet, they would have some kind of identification, microchips, anything like that.  He had no identification.  When he was found, they were going to euthanize him...I’m going to keep him,” Johnston said.

Moussette admitted Hunter did not have tags or a mircochip ID;  he was not neutered.  But he did have all his shots and a lot of love, even going to work with Moussette every day,  with his boss’s approval.   Johnston hasn’t ruled out letting Moussette visit,  but said the dog was legally hers, now.

Moussette said he understood that , but he hoped Johnston would reconsider.


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