Randy and Aislinn Ertzberger came home to a horror show recently in their yard.
Their dog Zeus, a two-year-old mastiff mix, had been wounded with a 12-gauge shotgun and was in bad shape.
"He just collapsed," said Randy.
"He laid his head in my lap and he just stopped breathing," said Aislinn.
The couple revived the dog, and he survived.
Police records show Zeus had apparently wandered into a neighbor's yard.
The neighbor claimed to be upset because it had happened previously and this time, Zeus was "in his garden." Court documents state the neighbor "fired a shot over (the dog's) head" as he was running away. At least two other homes were nearby, including one with children.
A Kitsap County (Washington) Sheriff's deputy called it an "extreme lack of responsibility."
The shotgun blast went completely through Zeus's body. He still has 98 inoperable bird shot pellets lodged inside him.
Veterinarians have placed Zeus in a permanent state of "critical but stable condition."
That means he is literally living day to day.
The Ertzbergers say if their neighbor was having trouble with Zeus, he never said anything about it.
They're telling their story to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence against animals. The National Coalition on Violence Against Animals says it's a growing problem in America.
"It pains me to think that just because Zeus has two extra legs it's a lesser crime," said Randy.
Kitsap County prosecutors have charged Dale Hardesty with second degree animal cruelty and discharging a firearm – both gross misdemeanors.
12 News partner station KING reached out to his attorney Wednesday, who offered no comment.
Meantime, the couple is trying to build a legal fund for a civil suit. They say any money they win will be put into a fund to help other families whose pets are the victims of violence.
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