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.