Dog called ‘gentle giant’ shot in face by neighbor who says he felt threatened

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TOLEDO, Wash. -- Some call it animal cruelty. Others may consider it a case of protecting your property. An incident Sunday morning in Toledo is pitting neighbor against neighbor with a dog in the animal hospital fighting for her life.

“She’s a gentle giant,” said Mary Fairbanks, who owns Missy the mastiff. “Anybody and everybody, when they meet Missy, they fall in love with her.”

Missy is now recovering from major face wounds suffered when a neighbor grabbed a shotgun, aimed it at Missy’s face and pulled the trigger.


“It took out the whole left side of her face,” said Fairbanks. “She will never have mobility of that side of her face. There is nothing to reconstruct.”

Fairbanks and her fiance were away last Sunday when the shooting happened. Missy’s gate had apparently been left open and she wandered onto neighbor Doug Bramhall’s property and got into a confrontation with his dog.

“I’m not here to cause pets a problem,” said Bramhall. “I didn’t ask for any of this.”

Bramhall says when he separated the two dogs, Missy turned on him and his wife.

“All of a sudden, here’s this animal coming at me in a very aggressive manner, and not being my friend.”

What has Fairbanks, and so many in the community, upset is that with his family and dog safe inside their house, Bramhall  went back out on his deck with a shotgun.

“Once they got that dog in the house and they were in that house, why?” asked Fairbanks. “I think that’s the biggest question for us.”

“I did do other things other than just shoot a dog,” said Bramhall. “I tried to contact the owner, I did contact the sheriff. I don’t know when the sheriff is going to show up. I live in an area where I shouldn’t be trapped in my house waiting for law enforcement to come at their whim.”

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office did investigate, and declined to cite anyone. Animal Control is now looking into it, and both neighbors are talking about civil lawsuits.

Right now, Fairbanks says she’s focused on her dog’s recovery.

“There’s no room for anything but prayers for Missy and prayers to help us understand how this happened.”

Missy is not out of the woods yet. Infection is still a threat in the wounds around her face. The medical care is expensive, and friends have started a GoFundMe account to help out. You can find that account here.

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      • dg54321

        The dog doesn’t have to harm someone before you can take action to defend yourself from being harmed, by said dog. You can prevent that harm before it happens. This is no different than if it was a human being aggressive on his porch, so I don’t know why you’re so up in arms about it.

        • Stephanie Eberhardt Wooley

          I agree the dog should have been contained but once the shooter’s family was safe, there’s no more dangerous. In human terms, it’s no longer self defense, its retribution. With your analogy, if I have a salesperson on my doorstep, I can shoot because he MAY harm me and there’s just bad people out there. What an animal may or may not do is not sufficient to shoot if there is no longer a danger.

          • dg54321

            Yes, you can. You have no duty to retreat.

            If you come into my yard and come at me like you’re going to attack me, I don’t have to run into my house before I can shoot you. I can shoot you right there in the yard and be in the right according to the eyes of the law.

            If we’re both on a public sidewalk, and you attack me, the situation is the same. I can defend myself with up to lethal force, anywhere i have a right to be.

            You need to learn the laws before you end up on the wrong side of them.

          • Clay Hundenshire

            Dogs get out ever now and then. My dog gets is an escape artist, but is not aggressive at all. If someone shot my dog, they would live a life of hell while they still lived near me. I don’t care how justified they felt. So, while some of you tough guys are trigger happy whimps, I have more compassion and wouldn’t use my fire arm unless I was attacked.

        • Nikki Middleton

          Oh man, you’re going to have a hard lesson to learn one day. You need to reread the Stand Your Ground law if this is what you think backs up your statement. While you do not have the duty to retreat if you reasonably believe doing so will prevent bodily harm or death, you can NOT retreat, then go back to commit a now premeditated crime.

          • dg54321

            We don’t have SYG here in WA. We just have a right to defend ourselves wherever we have a right to be. It says so right in the RCWs. I’ve read them, have you?

            I’m sorry you think you know things that you’re clearly just wrong about.

          • Nikki Middleton

            I just read them and they are pretty similar. Not sure if you’re trolling or just clearly looking for trouble in the future. If you have that poor of judgment and comprehension of the law, good luck with that in the future.

          • rodney

            Nikki your right but it didn’t happen like that if your neighbors dog in your back yard you should khnock on the front door and tell them he never was outside or being attacked he was home alone opened his door seen the dog went and got his gun came back and shot the dog thats animal cruelty in Baltimore city the laws dont play that over here he couldv called ^ he cant even be a man and admit he was wrong making up a bunch of lies i saw it i live on the block and i was coming up the street that man was home alone

    • Chris

      they were safe in the house, why go back out. you’re not thinking logically, but if you like unnecessary violence then I understand why you made that comment.

  • Jill

    I call bs he should have stayed in the house….that’s a shot gun blast at close range your telling me the gig was attacking him and he doesn’t have any injuries???? Hmmmmm seems like he’s lying and was just pissed that the dog was in his property!!

    • Carrie Arrington

      I’ve heard from several people that know this guy, and you are spot on. He initially tried to claim he felt his life was in danger, yet he went into his house, came out armed, and blasted the dog. He’s a POS, and I hope he gets the wood laid to him!

    • My Thoughts. Who cares what you think?

      Dog was agressive and on his property, He did not go to the dogs property. Dont like being shot, stay off his property and dont threaten him or his family.

      • rodney

        True you right on that but see the dog wasnt attacking she got out she was in his back yard he opened his door seen it and shot it which was wrong if you khnow its your neighbors dog you couldv went out front khnocked on the door and said can you get your dog
        out my yard and he was home alone his wife or nobody was there so he lying on that cuz i was right there i live on the block so yoy should reconsider

  • My Thoughts. Who cares what you think?

    The Owner of the Dog has a duty to protect his dog, just like the dog in question was a threat to the family. If the dogs owner has an issue, he needs to keep his dog on his property, For anyone, If I perceive a threat to me, my family, or an innocent citizen, You can bet that I will take swift and appropriate action up to and including deadly force. Dog, Person, or other makes no difference. The only person who should even be contemplating legal action is the family whose dog was attached and was threatened. The account set up should be for the Gun Owners legal protection. If the liberals think otherwise, your choice, but keep your animals, (2 leg and 4 leg) on your property.

    • Cam

      This isn’t liberals against gun owners. I’m a gun owner, and definitely not a liberal. But to keep our rights as gun owners we can’t abuse the right. Saying he has a right to protect his family yes, if he was concealed carrying and did it immediately when feeling threatened, yes. Coming back when all are safe inside and police are called, that is premeditated or retaliation. That is not acceptable and not proper gun use.

    • disgusted

      In fact it’s only defense if you shot while in the situation. Once you leave the scene and return to produce a weapon you are shooting in retribution. He’s a piece of shit plane and simple.

  • dg54321

    That’s Alaska. Cops may not show up for hours and if the dog was being aggressive, then he has a right to defend himself anywhere he has a right to be, including his own yard or deck. Ultimately, the dog’s owners are responsible for failing to secure their animal. They are lucky the dog is still alive at all.

    • Alex

      But this is not Alaska. It’s Washington. If police are on the way, and everyone is inside, what business does he have getting a gun and RETURNING outside to seek confrontation (I.E. blowing half of a mastiffs face off.) He wasnt in danger at that time. While I agree with the right to protect home and property, this was unneeded, and if it had happened to my dog, I dont know if I could honestly control myself enough to not at least exchange some heated words with this guy. NOT saying that the family isnt at fault as well. As a large dog owner myself, I understand that people can feel threatened by a large dog. It should have been secured. But again, dogs DO get out. It happens.

      • dg54321

        I know, I misread since the last name was Fairbanks.

        For Alaska, cops may not show up for a very long time and the dog doesn’t have more right to his property than he does. So if he goes outside and gets attacked just for being where he has a right to be, he has the right to shoot in self defense. But it’s WA and we usually have better response times than that, but still….it’s HIS property.

        And “it happens” is an excuse used to hand-wave away blame in a lot of tragedies where a person should be taking responsibility and saying “My fault”.

        • rodney

          Even so he still was wrong cuz he nvr was in danger he was home alone opened his back door and saw the dog went got his gun and shot it his wife no-one was home cuz i was bout to grab missy and he came out with a shot gun before I could get there and then you know it’s your neighbors dog go out front knock on the door and say can you get your dog please as neighbors living in the community he was wrong and hes lieng about being attacked which makes its even more wrong so sit on that 4 a minute meatball

        • rodney

          Even so he still was wrong cuz he nvr was in danger he was home alone opened his back door and saw the dog went got his gun and shot it his wife no-one was home cuz i was bout to grab missy and he came out with a shot gun before I could get there and then you know it’s your neighbors dog go out front knock on the door and say can you get your dog please as neighbors living in the community he was wrong

  • "peety"

    NRA released a statement last night regarding the shooting. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a dog with a gun. Arm your dog to prevent further tragedies.


  • ABS

    Mastiffs are gentle giants who won’t harm anyone. This idiot should have his guns confiscated before he flies off the handle and shoots a person.

    • Trevor

      You are literally so stupid. Mastiffs are from a Mollosus Dog in ancient times bred to fight in Wars and maul people to death. Let me guess pitbulls are sweet and wouldn’t hurt anyone either? Well news flash, they do. And this one attacked this man’s dog. So clearly, it WOULD hurt somebody. But it won’t be because it got shot in the face. They should take your computer away, before you cost more people braincells by spreading your bs around.

  • Susan

    i don’t buy the neighbors story abot the dog being agressive. Where are, if any, bite marks or wounds the mastiff made to their dog… I would have waited patiently for authorities to arrive and not gone back out to shoot any creature unless it attempted to come inside. it could have been avoided. i’m with the family whose dog was shot.

  • anonuser

    I’d shoot a dog that just attacked mine and wouldn’t leave my property too. The people that left the gate open should be jailed for attempted murder for letting an animal that big roam freely.

  • Chris

    absolutely sickening. fairbanks was in the house safe and went back out? He’s sick and I would file charges to the full extent. there’s something wrong with this man if he runs to get a gun when he is safe inside the house. poor dog. i really lose faith in people.

    • Peacemaker

      Did you see the small enclosed area with the six foot tall fence that these two dogs were contained.then when the two animals were released on Saturday they attacked a separate neighbor’s dog. Then look what happened on Sunday when they were released.
      it’s very common for white trash to keep energetic large breeds in a small enclosure.
      What we’ve learned here is ,don’t just wound a dog that attacks yours on your property. Just kill it. Otherwise it’s an excuse for deadbeats to play on other people’s emotions using GoFundMe.

      • gregk9

        What are you talking about – the two dogs “released on Saturday” to attack a “separate neighbor’s dog”? What ‘attack’? Where’s the dog that was ‘attacked’? What injuries did he suffer? Where’s Bramhall’s injuries from this supposed ‘attack’? And ‘white trash’? Aren’t you a judgmental prick! We just say part of the enclosure. Who knows how big it is or isn’t? You know how much that cedar fencing costs? Hardly the type of fence ‘white trash’ would install!

  • Zac H

    According to another story those dogs before.. Go check out the story at the online Chronicle. Bill Teitzle talks about the report.

  • Sarah

    What happened to Missy is very sad. However, it is on her owners. A giant breed dog, particularly one which has guard tendencies like the Mastiff, is terrifying when it’s loose and behaving aggressively. A dog that size is fully capable of killing an adult human. You can’t let this size dog roam. The owners left it with a housesitter who apparently managed to lose control of the dog twice in less than 24 hours – and both times the dog immediately went off the property to attack another dog. This is not something that a dog normally does the very first time it gets loose – they’re not usually that confident the first time they enter a new place. The Bramhalls are saying Missy was frequently loose and on their property, and I believe it. The terrible pain Missy endured is due entirely to her owner’s neglect – they were responsible for their dog and to their neighbors, and they failed.

  • CM

    Sorry, but if a dog that size ‘went after him’ there would be evidence of it. He was safe, back in his house, got his gun, and went back out specifically to shoot the dog for no reason. Saying he was trapped in his house is a complete load. He just wanted to shoot the dog.

  • brc54

    It was a mastiff.

    The neighbor with the shotgun has a German Shepherd.

    Guess which one of those two breeds is more often involved in dog fights & attacks on humans?

    Hint, it’s not the mastiff.

  • MaXiMuS54

    This is utter nonsense, I see cops and people shooting dogs all the time because they feel “threatened.” If you were to shoot your gun in the air or the ground, the noise would scare them off in most cases.

  • Trevor

    I hope the guy that shot the dog is OK. I hope he Sue’s the dogs owner for traumatizing him, trespassing, and endangering him, his dog and family. It’s not his responsibility to be nice to a dog that trespassed onto his property and attacked his dog. It’s not his responsibility to be trapped in a house hiding from a monster. The gentle giant clearly wasn’t so gentle and maybe with half a face, it will think twice next time.