War hero's dog murdered

April 9, 2009 4:32:17 PM PDT
A war hero's therapy dog was shot and killed. After the Navy SEAL found his dog injured, he used his skills to track down the two men he saw do it. It's a case that has sparked nationwide attention. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Marcus Luttrell found his dog lying in a ditch. She'd been shot in the left shoulder. Calls continue to come into the Walker County Sheriff's office from around the country -- total strangers are expressing their disgust and outrage over what happened, as well as concern for Luttrell who has already lost so much.

At McKenzie's Barbecue in Huntsville, a local war hero's heartache is all the lunchtime crowd can talk about.

"I'd hate to say it, but if I were in the position he was in, I would have shot them or shot at them," admitted lunch patron Ralph Lawson.

Last week, former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor of a fierce fight in Afghanistan, found himself at war with a different kind of enemy -- a group of men he says shot and killed his beloved dog. She was a white Labrador named DASY -- an acronym for the SEAL team members he lost in battle.

"Some people think dogs are dogs," said Luttrell. "This was my rehab dog that I got after I got shot up in Afghanistan. It's not just a dog. To me it's like my daughter."

Luttrell got in his truck and chased the vehicle and its four occupants more than 20 miles through three countie, driving at speeds over 100 miles an hour before making a citizen's arrest near Onalaska. He stayed on the line with a 911 operator the entire time.

911 operator: "Are you chasing them because they shot your dog?"
Luttrell: "Yeah, that's right."
Operator: "Do you know who these people are?"
Luttrell: "I have no idea."

Two of the men in that car -- Michael Edmonds and Alfonzo Hernandez -- have been charged with cruelty and torture to a non-livestock animal. Investigators tell us they are suspects in at least three other similar cases.

The senseless killing of this war hero's dog is drawing nationwide attention. Luttrell says while he's touched by all the support, all he wants is justice.

"I want them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said. "I mean, they murdered my dog. That's a member of my family. That's murder."

Both suspects have bonded out of jail. Detectives with the Walker County Sheriff's office will eventually present the findings of their investigation to the Walker County District Attorney's office, who in turn, will present this case to a grand jury.

Luttrell received his dog from America's Vet Dogs, a group that provides service and guide dogs to members of the military. The dog services are provided at no cost to veterans. Earlier this year, a service dog was taken to Iraq to live with military members there to help reduce stress.

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