Will Baumann of Beaver Lake near Plattsmouth is offering a $500 reward for anyone who can help solve the mystery of who shot his 1-year-old service dog, Soldier.
Soldier, a husky-lab mix was a gift to Baumann from his sister last year. Soldier served as a service dog for Baumann, an army veteran who suffers from PTSD disorder.
"We're just trying to figure out who did it because he was my best friend and there's no replacement for Soldier," said Baumann.
Baumann says the incident took place on Saturday near his home. He says Soldier and his other dog, Journey were in the unfenced backyard and ran off for a bit. When the dogs came back, Soldier had a wound near his ribs.
The family first thought the wound was from a BB gun so they took him to the vet. The vet did an exploratory surgery and said the bullet hit Soldier in the intestines and other organs. The vet said Soldier had a two-percent chance to survive if they performed surgery. Baumann says the family faced a tough decision but given the extremely low chances of survival, they authorized for the vet to euthanize the dog.
"We think maybe he was shot because he was a bigger dog. Maybe someone got scared not knowing who he was and maybe shot him. I don't know if it was a malicious attitude or out of scaredness, but he wouldn't hurt anybody," said Baumann.
Baumann says Soldier was not wearing his service dog vest on Saturday but was wearing a collar with his name and a tag labeling him as an official service dog.
Baumann served two tours in Iraq from 2003 to 2005. Besides suffering from PTSD, Baumann says he is legally disabled and has back problems. Soldier was in the middle of training to also help Baumann cope with his injuries.
"I think I'm still kind of in shock. I don't feel like he's gone. I'm thinking he's at the foot of the bed when I wake up and I come home from school and see he's gone and I just feel lost," added Baumann.
3 News Now contacted the Cass County Sheriff's Department and were told they did receive a call to Baumann's address on Saturday but could not release any details to the investigation.
Baumann asks that anyone with information contact police.
The Baumann family started a GoFundMe account to help Baumann get another service dog.