Pet parents know what it’s like to protect our creatures against sickness and pain. Checking for fleas and ticks, monitoring their bathroom habits, and veterinarian trips for vaccinations and exams are all a part of keeping your furry friends as healthy as possible.
But as one mother would find out, this case had anything but an innocent explanation. The truth was unbelievably cruel, and shook her faith.
Be warned: These photos are heartbreaking and show very graphic content.
An Indiana Family
24-year-old Hayden Howard lives in Indiana with her son Noah and their English Mastiff, Jackson. In the spring of 2017, Hayden discovered that Jackson was covered in puncture marks.
Injuries From A Fight?
Jackson spent part of his days in the family’s enclosed backyard, so it wasn’t likely that he’d suffered injuries from an encounter with another animal.
Covered In Bug Bites
“He had some marks on him, and we thought they were bug bites,” Hayden recalls. The 100-pound dog was covered in small bumps and sores that didn’t seem to be causing him pain.
Bumps Turned Into Holes
Hayden paid close attention to the dog’s behavior. Eventually, she noticed a few signs that indicated something strange.
“Saturday night,” Hayden recalls, “I started noticing holes.”
Worse Than Just Bug Bites
Once Hayden had reason to believe that Jackson could be suffering from something worse than bug bites, she gently combed through his fur to inspect.
Help From The Veterinarian
Dr. Steve Sunbury at the Seymour Animal Hospital saw Jackson for an examination. It didn’t take long for him to uncover the disturbing truth.
Covered In Puncture Wounds
Jackson’s body was covered in puncture wounds from a BB gun.
“I was completely shocked that they were pulling BBs and pellets out of my dog,” Hayden said.
It Was Certainly No Accident
Of course, this amount of puncture wounds is indeed no accident. It quickly became clear to Hayden and the veterinarian that Jackson had been targeted by someone.
Violence In The Backyard
BB guns are less powerful than standard firearms, but that doesn’t change anything here. Hayden needed to know who had committed such violent acts in her own backyard.
Revealing More And More Injuries
Dr. Sunbury continued to shave Jackson’s fur, revealing more and more puncture wounds. When fired at close range, BB guns can damage bone, and they’re certainly lethal enough to kill small animals.
More Than 50 Wounds
In total, 21 BBs and seven metal pellets were pulled out of Jackson’s body at the veterinarian’s office. He’d suffered more than 50 wounds.
At A Loss For Words
“The vet came out there and showed me all these little BBs,” Hayden recalls. “I just didn’t know what to say or what to do.”
The Injuries Could Have Left Him Disabled
“There was one under his eyelid,” Hayden explained. Jackson could have lost his sight and hearing. “There was one in his ear, one in his knee… they were all over.”
Alerting The Authorities
Hayden quickly contacted the Seymour Police Department and explained the situation. Law enforcement officials were understandably shocked by the cruel act, so they investigated the matter…
Searching The Backyard
The authorities visited Hayden’s home and inspected the backyard. After searching the area, they were able to track down some evidence of the attack.
Uncovering More Evidence
One tree in the yard was covered in fired BBs and projectiles, helping the department to find whoever committed the attack. They added these pellets to the number of total shots fired…
Over 60 Shots Were Probably Fired
Around 20 pellets had been removed from Jackson’s body and there were around 20 still embedded in his skin. Over 60 shots were probably fired at the dog.
Search Warrant For The Neighbors
Pellets found in the tree helped the police pinpoint a location. They obtained a search warrant for her neighbor’s home, where they uncovered more details…
Neighbor Arrested For Drug Offenses
44-year-old Tim Woodard was arrested for drug offenses. Police uncovered confidential evidence as well as a BB and a pellet gun. They hope to uncover forensic evidence that will lead them to the truth.
A Full Recovery And Ongoing Investigation
While the investigation is still underway, Jackson has made a full recovery. After rounds of pain medication and antibiotics, he will be back to normal.
Hopefully, Hayden and her family will soon have different neighbors, too.