Junior, thankfully, is back to being a sweet, goofy dog at his home in Eatonville, WA, home, but it almost wasn’t the case.
The rescue was hit by a hunter’s arrow in the private woods next to his house.
Owner Heidi Austin-Root told CNN affiliate KOMO she believes illegal elk poachers were prowling the property and it’s likely that Junior and her other dog were scaring away their quarry, thus angering them.
“It was definitely a kill shot,” Austin-Root said.
Junior was taken to a local veterinary clinic, where the arrow was removed. The projectile had lodged in his chest, barely missing his jugular vein. He’s expected to make a full recovery, but may end up with a limp as a result of his injuries.
“The poachers had to get close enough. There was no mistaking (the dog) for a deer or anything,” Austin-Root said.
Junior’s family, and investigators with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, hope the $5,000 reward being offered will catch those responsible for the attack.
State regulations involving unlawful hunting have penalties that include loss of hunting licenses and suspensions of up to 10 years. There are also classifications that make it a misdemeanor or felony crime.