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Dog Shot With 21 Pellets After Maltese Hunter Says He Mistook Pet For Wild Quail

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A man who took his dog for a walk in his locality ended up seeking medical attention for his pet after a hunter shot the dog – saying he mistook it for a wild bird.

Speaking to Lovin Malta, the man, who has since spoken to police about the incident which occurred in September, explained what happened the evening his dog was shot in the head as he was walking in the countryside near a residential area.

Passing through a field, he heard a gunshot, before he realised his dog had been shot.

The man recounted what happened next in his own words to Lovin Malta. 

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

On this particular day, while out with my dog, I heard a gunshot from my right and my dog started whining and crying. I have never heard him cry out like this before.

I was about ten metres away from my dog and he walked over to me and I realised that his head and face had quite a bit of blood streaming down it, and he also had blood along the right side of his body.

I looked around and found a hunter in his ‘dura’, about twenty metres to my right, and I shouted ‘X’għamilt sieħbi?! X’għamiltlu l-kelb?!”

The hunter immediately denied that it was him that shot, saying: ‘Mhux jien, mhux jien kont!’ and I shouted ‘X’mhux int, l-ostja?! L-unika kaccatur li hawn!’ He then replied by saying ‘Heqq qas naqa ħoss m’għamiltu, ma’ ndunajtx bikom, ħsibtu summiena!’

I then started shouting ‘X’għamilt b’idejk?!, il-kelb kollu demm, ċempel l-emergenza! Ċempel l-emergenza għax m’għandix mobile!’

All of this was happening while the hunter remained in his dura, gun in hand.

He was not aiming the gun at me, it was pointed upwards with his arms crossed, but I was wary of approaching him any further as at the end of the day the gun was still in his hand and I also didn’t want to leave my dog’s side.

Plus, at no point did he lower the gun or come to check on me or the dog. Although I was under shock, I do remember him getting out his mobile, however he was stalling and it didn’t seem like he was going to really call any emergency number.

Within a couple of minutes of the incident, I realised that my dog was about to start lying down, and I told the hunter to leave it as I am going to carry him and take him to the emergency vet service myself.

At this point I literally gave the hunter my back and walked off to the car, and rather than this person running up to check on me or see how they could help, they vanished, so I assume that they walked/ran off to escape the scene.

I carried the dog to my car, picked up my wife who was also coincidentally in the area and rushed to the vet.

The vet informed us that the dog was under severe shock and developed a high fever, with no way of knowing whether he would survive or not, as they couldn’t check for damage to vital organs before his fever and shock subsided.

The only positive note at this point was that his eyes were responsive to their flashlight.

The next update that we got was late at night, when the vet informed us that the fever and shock subsided and that they were going to do an ultrasound on the dog to ensure that no vital organs were hit.

As any dog owner, or anyone else for that matter, could imagine, that night was very emotional and traumatic, as we didn’t know whether he would survive or not.

The next morning they informed us that no major organs were hit and the dog thankfully would survive. He was no longer on the critical list and so was dropped down the operation list, and he was finally operated on Friday night.

The operation was a success, he remained at the vet’s for the night and we picked him up on Saturday morning.

The X-rays show that there were around 21 pellets lodged between his skin and skeleton, most of which were in the head and face area, and the vet managed to remove just six of them.

The prognosis is that the dog will most probably live out a healthy life with the rest lodged beneath his skin, and this is apparently quite common for pets in Malta. Thankfully none of them hit his eyes or nose either.

The man, who asked Lovin Malta to keep his name and the locality of the town unpublished due to ongoing police investigations, said that people might put the blame on him for walking through the field.

“People might argue that I was indeed trespassing on private land, or close to private land, and fair point, but as far as I know it is a hunter’s duty to protect any living animal or being, including those that they are legally allowed to hunt, and should also not shoot unless they are convinced that their line of site and line of fire are completely clear,” he said.

“And even so, if the area truly were private, then I expect the person to come and inform me, or swear at me, or even possibly threaten me that the area is private – but we are not living in the Wild West and the person should never resort to shooting in order to inform another person that the area is private.”

“At the end of the day, I too could have very easily been in the line of fire and shot at.”

The man emphasised that he had nothing against hunting, with some of his friends being hunters. However, he was left shocked at the way the hunter acted even after he saw he had shot a pet dog.

“This may have been a genuine mistake, which I doubt it was, as if it were the least the person could have done was drop his shotgun and come and assist me, and so if the hunter responsible reads this I want the person to know that the dog will survive.”

The man ended by asking how it was legal for hunters to be allowed to shoot so near a residential area – he said his dog was shot just 200 metres from homes, as well as if gun cartridges and pellets were traceable in case of incidents like this.

“I would like to stress once again that I am not against hunting. To each his own. But the amount of flagrant abuse over the past few years has become glaringly obvious, and it is about time that more regulation, or at the very least, more enforcement occurs in the countryside,” he ended.

“This time it was my dog, God forbid one day it may be someone’s child.”

Have you ever experienced something like this?

READ NEXT: Bernard Grech Invites People To A Walk In The ‘Little Countryside That Remains’

Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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