Springfield resident Crystal Davis-Graham was at home with her kids on Easter Sunday when a stranger walked up to her dog on her front lawn and shot it in the face.
She didn’t hear any barks before a single gunshot rang out and neighbors, who witnessed the shooting, started screaming.
Davis-Graham ran outside and found her dog, a three-year-old border collie named Fluffernutter, cowering underneath a car.
“It was pretty scary. There was just blood everywhere,” Davis-Graham said. “It was just a pretty traumatic experience.”
Davis-Graham said neighbors told her they saw the male shooter run away and jump into a tan car. Nicole Cook with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office told the News-Leader that it is an open investigation, therefore the office is unable to release suspect information at this time.
The bullet had fractured the dog’s upper jaw, shattered some teeth and punctured through a cheek, Davis-Graham said.
Fluffernutter is on the mend, Davis-Graham said. An infection is going away and the border collie is eating and drinking well. She will be on a liquid diet for another month.
She said she doesn’t know why someone would shoot Fluffernutter, whom she described as “very sweet.”
The incident has caused Davis-Graham to think more critically about gun laws.
“People should have a permit to carry guns,” Davis-Graham said. “I mean, he could have shot my kids. Everybody plays outside all the time. He could have shot a person instead of a dog.”
Missouri does not require permits for carrying firearms. Owners are also not required to register firearms. In 2016, Missouri legislators relaxed concealed carry laws. As of last year, anyone 19 or older can carry a concealed weapon without a permit and with no special firearms training, which previously was required.
Certain people are not allowed to buy guns, such as felons, domestic violence offenders and drug addicts.
Davis-Graham is a single mother with three daughters, between the ages of 4 and 12.
“My younger two, they’re scared to even go outside and play now or walk from the car to the house,” she said.
Davis-Graham said she hopes authorities will catch whoever shot her dog soon. She’s worried that he may pose a threat to others.
“Unfortunately I witnessed firsthand that people are capable of pretty evil things,” Davis-Graham said.
However, Davis-Graham said she’s seen a lot of kindness as well.
Friends and strangers alike helped raise $460 on GoFundMe for Fluffernutter’s vet bills within two days.
“It’s pretty amazing that people I never even met were donating from all over the country,” Davis-Graham said. “The community has really stepped up and everyone has fallen in love with Fluffernutter.”
Davis-Graham said she stopped accepting donations because she has enough to cover Fluffernutter’s bills so far. The dog may require another surgery to remove shattered teeth, though, she said.
“Even though Springfield has had a lot of crime lately,” Davis-Graham said, “Springfield has really shown, at their heart, who they really are. They really care about people and they want Springfield to be a good place to live.”
Fluffernutter is not the only dog to be shot within the past year.
Rescue One began soliciting donations Tuesday for Luna, a white dog that came to the shelter recently.
“We received some terrible news about this sweet girl yesterday. She has had some breathing trouble and nosebleeds since arriving at Rescue One. Turns out there’s a reason for that — she has a bullet lodged in her nasal passage. Yes, a bullet. Someone shot this dog in the face and walked away. Not only is this kind of behavior absolutely disgusting, but it’s scary. People who can be cruel to animals are absolutely capable of carrying that cruelty to humans,” said a post on Rescue One’s Facebook page.
Rescue One said Luna will have to go to a specialist for surgery. Donations are being accepted online at rescueonespringfield.com/donate/.
In October, a man shot and killed an American bulldog. The man told the News-Leader the dog had his leashed pet by the neck. The owner of the American bulldog, who witnessed the shooting, said his pet “was just playing with the other dog.”
Three days later, another dog described by police as a pit bull was shot and killed in Springfield after the dog allegedly jumped over a fence, attacked a neighbor’s dog and turned on the neighbor.