Las Cruces dog shot hunter in the back enroute to kill jackrabbits

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A Las Cruces dog, named Charlie, accidentally shot his beloved owner in the back late last week as they were enroute to the desert to kill jackrabbits. The 120-pound Rottweiler mix, named Charlie is still his owner’s favorite pooch.

According to the Las Cruces Sun News, Sonny “Tex” Gilligan had been heading, with Charlie and his two other dogs, Scooter and Cowboy, to the desert west of Las Cruces. Gilligan had been in the driver’s seat of his pickup when the accident occurred.

“Charlies got his foot in the trigger of the gun and I leaned forward and he slipped off the seat and caught the trigger – and it shot. It was a freak accident, but it’s true what happened,” stated Gilligan.

The shotgun had been in the backseat where Charlie and the other dogs were, and so the bullet went through the seat into Gilligan’s back. At first, Gilligan thought someone from the outside had shot him, but soon figured out the bullet came from the back and Charlie’s paw action.

The bullet shattered the man’s collarbone, broke some ribs and damaged internal organs. Gilligan was able to use his cellphone to call the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office where first responders were able to save his life. He was transported by helicopter to a nearby hospital.

As for Charlie, Scooter and Cowboy, the trio were picked up by Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley. All of the dogs were rescues since they were puppies and have acres of land to run and be free. Charlie, in particular had been advertised as a free puppy.

Although Gilligan remains in serious condition, his son states his father is expected to recover and holds no malice at all against his beloved dogs. The dogs are all back home.

You’re still a good dog Charlie.

(Las Cruces dog Charlie photo via Sonny Gilligan)

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  1. Damn glad he’s not blaming his dog, and that he’s going to recover. Maybe he shouldn’t recover enough to go hunting any more, which he shouldn’t have been in the first place. Two lessons – don’t risk the lives of your animals when you’re careless with weapons. Don’t be careless with weapons. He looks old enough to not be wandering around the woods with weapons anyway. Don’t go out to kill animals.


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