Dogs may be “man’s best friend,” but not because of their marksmanship.
A 74-year-old man in New Mexico was shot by one of his dogs last week while he and his three canine hunting companions were out pursuing jackrabbits near Las Cruces, according to local media.
Mark Gilligan told reporters that his father, Sonny, often takes his three dogs, Charlie, Cowboy, and Scooby, on hunting trips in his pickup truck. Sonny lets his dogs eat the rabbits he shoots, and his son says his father has always enjoyed pampering his pooches.
“He spoils his dogs, you know. He calls them his boys. He’s very fond of his animals,” Mark said.
On this most recent trip, however, Sonny had left his shotgun in the back seat of his pickup. It’s unclear whether the safety had been switched to “fire,” but the gun was loaded, so when Charlie’s paw got caught on the trigger, the gun sent a round through the front seat and into Sonny’s back.
“Charlie got his foot in the trigger of the gun and I leaned forward and he slipped off the seat and caught the trigger — and it shot,” Sonny told the Las Cruces Sun News. “It was a freak accident but it’s true, that’s what happened.”
Sonny was able to call 911 before passing out, and Mark praised the first responders who saved his father’s life.
“He was done, he would’ve died. I can’t say enough about the Sheriff’s deputies, because without them my dad was dead,” Mark said.
Sonny echoed his son’s sentiments.
“I was very fortunate I could get to my phone,” Gilligan said. “The DASO (Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office) first-responders saved my life. If they waited 10 more minutes I would’ve died. I lost so much blood. I know I actually passed to the other side just before getting to the hospital but they were able to revive me through CPR and bring me back. I have so much appreciation to the doctors and first-responders who saved my life.”
Sonny’s injury left him in critical condition, but even before he was moved out of the intensive care unit, he wanted to know whether or not his dogs would be all right. Mark says when his father heard the animals had been taken to a county shelter, Sonny’s main concern was getting his dogs out of what he called, “doggie jail.”
Mark also pointed out that even though Charlie could have killed his father, Sonny has forgiven his furry friend.
“It was an accident, although they tease me asking me if he did it on purpose,” Sonny told the Sun News. “Truth is, (Charlie’s) a big, loving dog and would never hurt anybody on purpose.”