LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A family living in a seemingly quite Little Rock neighborhood wants answers as their dog fights for his life.
Chad and Alex Haygood are clinging to hope as they watch ‘JJ’ their German Shephard recover from gunshot wounds. The dog is currently eating baby food administered through syringes with around-the-clock care. It comes after one of their neighbors told police he shot the dogs in self-defense hours after the family pets escaped their property.
"He shot my dogs which he says were lunging at him,” said Chad Haygood. “JJ has an in-wound right here and an exit wound at the roof of his mouth that you can stick your thumb in.”
The couple said JJ and their chocolate lab somehow escaped their property Monday morning. By the afternoon, both dogs were allegedly shot by a neighbor, Paul Hurn.
"I thought it was a stray dog,” said Hurn.
According to a police report, Hurns' neighbor told police both dogs were barking and lunging at her door on Cedar Ridge Court. The report stated Hurn, who told THV11 that he has a concealed carry license. He also said he tried to intervene by clapping his hands to scare the dogs away from the neighbor's house.
"She was scared of the dogs and unfortunately, in that conversation, the dogs came at me and I was scared to death,” said Hurn.
Hurn ended up shooting both dogs. The Haygood family said their lab was shot once and JJ was shot three times. The family is having a hard time buying Hurn’s story.
“There's another entrance at his butt and it came out here, the stories are just not adding up,” said Chad Haygood.
“We highly recommend someone calling animal control to try to resolve those issues, because they have the tools to work with so that it would not escalate to that,” said Eric Barnes, an officer with Little Rock Police Department. “But, if he did feel the need to defend himself, he does have that right if it got to the point where he felt threatened.”
Hurn said he did feel threatened because of the physical demeanor of the dog.
“The shepherd had his ears flat against his head, his teeth were bared and he came at me,” said Hurn.
Neighbors in the west Little Rock neighborhood said it shouldn’t have ended this way.
“This is a great neighborhood,” said Jim Lites. “I saw the dogs on my surveillance cameras around 2 A.M., they are well nourished and you can tell they belonged to someone around here. You don't expect people running out of their house with a nine millimeter, shooting dogs that are running away from them, judging by the wounds of the dog.”
According to the police report, the two dogs did not have collars on when they arrived to the scene.
“Why not call animal control? Why not call the police?” Chad Haygood said.
The family may never know.
"He’s the one that wrote the report, it's our word against his,” said Alex Haygood.
The couple told THV11 they won't stop until JJ gets justice.
"This is a member of my family and he's going to get justice no matter how long it takes or how much it costs,” said Chad Haygood.
In a separate report, the Haygood’s went to the area where their dogs were shot to find answers. Hurn called police concerning a suspicious vehicle. Inside, were the Haygood’s.
The family explained to police they were not there to stir up trouble, instead to find answers. Officers told the couple since the incident happened the day before, they would need to contact the prosecuting attorney's office.
The Haygood's said they are in the process of filing a civil lawsuit.