Two dogs go missing; one found shot - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Two dogs go missing; one found shot

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

Megan Bradley wishes she could solve a mystery.

"I don't know what happened. I wish she could talk and tell me what happened" says Bradley.

Last Thursday two of the family's dogs were playing in the yard but the Australian Shepherds didn't come for feeding - which Bradley says is unusual. So the family went looking, searching the woods around their Lawndale property.

Bradley says she eventually found the three and a half year old dog, Gracie, at the barn.

"I just looked at her. She was dirty. She was wet" says Bradley. "And I looked at her leg and I knew something bad had happened so I went to pick her up and she just fell in my arms and that's when I started really freaking out."

Bradley says she drove Gracie back to the house so her mother could see what happened.

"When Megan brought her to us - she carried her out of the truck. Gracie was just pitiful. She had no personality about her. She was depressed and pitiful"says Susan Hammitt. "Her leg apparently severed - almost severed. It was hanging on by a small piece of skin."

The family didn't find the other dog - Gracie's brother, Fat Boy.

They rushed Gracie to the veterinarian. Doctors said the dog had been shot. The right hind leg had to be amputated.

"That was horrible. She didn't deserve this" says Hammitt. "She didn't deserve to have to live with 3 legs."

"Well putting her down was not an option" says Bradley. "So I just had to do whatever it was possible to keep her alive."

Less than a week after surgery, the dog is on antibiotics to prevent infections. She also has to take pain medicine, and wear a head cone at night to stop her from getting to the wound.

The family has not been able to dismiss what happened.

"It goes through my mind all the time. I mean 2 dogs that were together - one comes back shot. The other doesn't come back at all. How do you explain that?" asks Bradley. "I want answers. I really want answers. It's not going to make this situation better but it's peace of mind to know exactly what happened because she can't talk. She can't tell you what happened."

Susan Hammitt says she contacted Cleveland County Animal Control. The office tells WBTV they have not had any recent problems with dogs being shot. Officers say it's not unusual - but it's also not uncommon. They say they're keeping an eye out for the missing dog, Fat Boy.

No one knows if the shooting was accidental or intentional.

Animal Control says pet owners should remember to keep their animal away from the woods. Officers say it's rifle season. There are people in the woods with guns. They say pet owners need to keep an eye out.

Hammitt says " the biggest thing I want people to know is if you're hunting or if you're out target shooting or whatever... if you have a problem with an animal, come tell us. Don't shoot them."

Meanwhile, Gracie is learning to walk and get around with three legs.

Bradley says the dog she has had since it was a pup "doesn't understand - she'll still try to jump up and she'll fall."

The family has become extremely protective of Gracie.

"We take her out to go to the bathroom and that's it" Hammitt says. "She comes back in. We don't let her out because the danger of her getting attacked by a coyote or something is higher and she can't defend herself."

Bradley says "it's hard to watch her because she wants to keep with all the other dogs and she can't."

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