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Bullet wounds found on Hamblen Co. dog, officials investigate

8:21 AM, Jan 11, 2012   |    comments
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3-year-old golden retriever, "Wyatt" was found with at least 5 buckshot wounds.

West Knoxville veterinarian Doctor Paul Jeter examined 3-year-old golden retriever, Wyatt, for the first time Monday. The dog is at the Rocky Hill Animal Hospital for more than a checkup.

"Started cleaning up his wounds, and while we were cleaning up his wounds underneath his skin, bullet fragments," Dr. Jeter said.

He found five gunshots on the golden retriever which members of the Morristown-Hamblen County Animal Control also found last Thursday. 

He was also found with a broken jaw and wandering through the neighborhood. The local humane society picked up the animal for care.

"I've done golden retriever rescue for ten years and by far this is the worst situation I've seen," said Amy Johnston with rescue group "Adopt a Golden Knoxville," who now has taken over custody of the animal.

The dog was found near Meadowland Drive and Kidwell Ridge Road in West Hamblen County. The Hamblen County Sheriff's Department has been scouring the area Tuesday afternoon since they took over the investigation, trying to find the dog's owner. So far they have had no such luck.

"Conceivably, there's a small chance there could've been an accidental shooting," said Hamblen County Chief Deputy Wayne Maize. "It is goose season and it could've been accidentally shot because it is a retriever and people do hunting with them. But it's not likely."

Chief Deputy Mize said the person who shot the dog, intentionally, will face animal cruelty charges, and possibly 11 months and 29 days in jail.

"I pray that it's taken because this is absolute cruelty... to this dog, any dog, cat, any animal that is innocent and defenseless," Adopt a Golden Knoxville's Amy Johnston added.

Wyatt will go through intense surgery to repair his jaw... veterinarian Doctor Paul Jeter says Wyatt is one lucky dog.

"A lot of times, gunshot wounds don't make it to us, and I've seen a handful," said Dr. Jeter. "He's got some bad wounds, fortunately he got lucky in a lot of places."

If you have any information on the case, contact the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department at (423) 586-3781. Information on Wyatt can be found on Adopt A Golden Knoxville website.

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