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Service dog healing but shaking after BB shooting

Someone shot a Milwaukie woman's service dog with a pellet gun
by: Anthony Roberts, Mary Bradford and her dog, Rambo, at home a few days after the shooting.

Mary Bradford thought the Milwaukie-area home her family settled into two months ago provided an ideal atmosphere for her service dog, Rambo.

The back yard of the S.E. Jordon Street home has plenty of room for a dog to roam, and several of the neighbors are also dog owners.

She was wrong.

On Tuesday night, March 18, Mary's husband heard Rambo whimpering at the door around 8 p.m. When he opened it, the dog shot right to his bed and was 'acting strange,' Bradford said. She took a look, and saw that Rambo's bed was covered with blood. There was a puncture wound, and the Bradfords initially though the dog got into something sharp in the backyard. But a trip to the veterinary hospital revealed that the dog had actually been shot by a BB from a pellet gun. The pellet hit Rambo, a 5-and-a-half year old Springer Spaniel, in the stomach.

He's at home recovering, but he's bound to the house while his stitches heal. Bradford said the dog wasn't barking, and was on a leash that keeps him in the yard.

'I don't know if it was an accident or some intentional act,' Bradford said. 'He was in our yard, he's so well trained, it's not like he was doing anything bad.'

While Rambo's physical wounds are healing well, it's the psychological impact of the incident that could cause problems. Bradford uses Rambo as a service dog because she is hearing impaired - she can't distinguish high-pitched noises.

'The injury will heal up, but we're having problems. He doesn't want to go outside. I don't know how much work we're going to have to do with him,' said Bradford, who has owned Rambo for three years and taken him everywhere from the grocery store to the airport. 'He's my best buddy. He goes everywhere with me.'

If Rambo needs to retire from his service dog duties, his abilities won't be easy to replace. Bradford said there is a five-year wait with the state's service dog program for the hearing impaired.

The Bradfords filed a report with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. The March 18 incident at the Bradfords came just after two teenagers were arrested for a weekend BB shooting spree that caused damage to homes and property around Clackamas County. CCSO spokesman Det. Jim Strovink said different types of criminal mischief often go through cycles.

'It might be a sling shot, the next week it might be paint ball guns,' he said of these types of crimes. 'There's always something of some sort out there.'

Bradford said this incident, however, could go beyond criminal mischief, since it is a felony to injure service dogs. She's spoken to most of her neighbors, and no one saw anything suspicious the night of March 18 in this quiet neighborhood just south of Johnson Creek Boulevard.

Anyone with information on this incident can call the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office at 503-655-8211.