Dog shot in head, muzzle taped shut found in ditch along Cowlitz County highway
COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. (KPTV) - Public utility employees with Cowlitz County were driving back from a maintenance project along Spirit Lake Highway near Mt. Saint Helens on Thursday, Nov. 2 when they came across a shocking discovery.
Dylan Schulda, who was leading the crew at the time, said a lineman in the back of the car spotted a dog in the ditch.
“At first we thought he was dead, it was just laying in the ditch, and as we got out of the vehicles to look at it, it picked its head up to look at us,” Schulda said.
The dog’s muzzle was duct-taped shut, so they used a razor to cut the tape so he could open his mouth enough to drink some water.
But his other injuries were even more shocking.
“We noticed that it had been shot in the head, saw the flash burns on the head and the hole in its skull,” Schulda said.
They brought him back to the Cowlitz County Humane Society, where X-rays revealed that a bullet was lodged in his jaw.
The veterinarians believed the bullet hit his head before grazing his eye and ending up in his jaw. The veterinarian recommended they not remove it at that time.
Since then, the dog they’ve been calling ‘Trooper’ has been in foster care with a Humane Society employee, and executive director Darren Ullmann said he has improved dramatically, though he is only able to have flat toys because he still can’t open his jaw very much.
“He’s just the most gentle, sweetest dog ever. How somebody could do this is beyond us,” he said.
The Humane Society has been working with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Department to find whoever is responsible. They believe Trooper was left on the road at some point between November 1 and 3.
“I don’t know if this was a retaliatory act against someone else, or if someone just didn’t want their dog anymore,” Ullmann said. “He’s such a great dog. It’s unbelievable that this would happen.”
Schulda decided to adopt Trooper himself, giving him a home with two other dogs and a loving family. An adoption ceremony will take place next Saturday, and Schulda said that PUD is considering making the dog the Grand Master of the local Christmas parade this year.
“At first I was really angry, like I think a lot of people are,” he said. “Whatever the spot was that this dog was in before, he’s going to now be treated the way a dog deserves to be treated.”
If you think you might have any information about where Trooper came from, you can submit a tip to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Department via this link or call 360-577-3092.
Ullmann asks people who have reached out wanting to adopt Trooper to adopt another dog in honor of him, as the shelter is currently at capacity and many dogs are in need of good homes.
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