Veteran's missing service dog found shot to death on train tracks in Kentucky

EMBED </>More Videos

A veteran is heartbroken after a cruel act of violence against his dog.

Gunner was more than just a service dog to Bryan Vallandingham, but a treasured member of the family.

His owner is in mourning after the dog, who went missing from his leash on January 12, died of horrific circumstances.

According to police, the three-year-old husky was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, and left along some train tracks in Kentucky.

"It's frustrating to me and sad at the same time," Vallandingham said.

Gunner was more than just a beloved family member, but an ever-present help after Vallandingham became disabled while serving as a military flight nurse.

Vallandingham suffered from relentless seizures, but said his quality of life improved greatly after Gunner came to live with him.

"He knew I was going to have a seizure 45 minutes before I was going to have one," he said.

While police are looking for leads in the dog's death, investigators said a strange phone call may or may not be related.

Tom Scheben of the Boone County Sheriff's Office said Vallandingham received a call the day before the dog was killed, claiming to have information about Gunner.

Scheben said the man hoped to extort a $100 iTunes gift card from Gunner's family.

"I think is was somebody taking advantage of the situation," Scheben said. "Maybe I'll get a $100 gift card if I send a text and say, 'Hey, I know where your dog is.'"

A $2,500 reward is being offered for information about the dog's death.

Meanwhile, Vallandingham will be receiving a new service dog within the next eight weeks.
Related Topics:
animal crueltyanimal newsu.s. & worldveterandogKentucky