GODFREY — Sam Fleming did not expect to spend his Thanksgiving at an emergency animal hospital in Collinsville. Unfortunately, that was what he had to do when his puppy, Chunk, came limping to the door that morning.
“His leg looked like a splintered branch,” he said.
Chunk is a purebred 9-month-old boxer. On Thanksgiving morning, about 10:30, Chunk, and Duke, Fleming’s other puppy, a blue healer/lab mix, were injured by a shotgun blast. Fleming is not sure who would have done such a thing.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” he said. “No one has warned me to keep my dogs off their yard, or threatened to do anything like this.”
Fleming lives on North Davis Lane in Godfrey, between Highway 67 and Airport Road. None of his neighbors have complained about the dogs, who sometimes stray from the yard during bathroom breaks.
“Two of my neighbors actually said they enjoy seeing the two of them,” Fleming said.
They were only outside for about 10 minutes that Thursday morning. They could not have traveled too far from Fleming’s home before being injured.
The buckshot from the shotgun shattered Chunk’s radius. Because of this, Chunk was forced to get his leg amputated. Duke was luckier than Chunk. Buckshot only grazed the top of his paw. The fact that both dogs were wounded at the same time led him to conclude it was not an accident, Fleming said.
“Chunk on his own, because of his color or whatever, I could see being mistaken for a different animal,” Fleming said. “But if they were both out there together, that has to be intentional.”
Fleming has asked his neighbors for any information on the incident. All have denied any involvement or knowledge. He filed a report with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department as well.
“They said whoever did it could be charged with animal cruelty,” he said.
Fleming has to pay vet bills approaching $4,000 — the amputation alone was $1,100. Luckily, Chunk is coping well with his injury.
“He’s back to himself again, it seems,” Fleming said on Tuesday. “He’s gained back some of the weight he lost in the few days he spent in and out of the vet.”
Fleming would like to know who would have done such a thing. He wants someone to claim responsibility for the shooting. Because of that, and his newfound financial burdens, Sam, and his father, Jeff, are offering a $500 reward to anyone who can come forward with evidence that could lead to an arrest.
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call the Madison County Sheriff’s Department or Jeff Fleming at (618) 560-9327.