An Arizona family’s husky is being praised as a hero after he was shot in the snout by a neighbor just feet away from a 12-year-old.
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Falco, a 2-year-old Siberian Husky was barking and playing in the backyard with his owner’s, Hailey Hernandez, son Alex, when a shot went off last Sunday.
“That day, Falco was our hero,” Hernandez told KPNX. “He protected my son. He put himself in harms way.”
Hernandez told KKTV, the bullet had gone through Falco’s “nose pallet and lodged into his tongue, which there are fragments of the bullet and bones still stuck in his tongue and upper jaw.”
The sound of the shooting was captured on a neighbor’s surveillance system. In it, Falco could be heard barking, before the shot goes off, and then he’s heard whimpering.
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‘I thought my dog was gone’
“I thought my dog was gone,” Hernandez told KKTV.
The dog was rushed to the vet and survived, but is now unable to bark or make any noises, KPNX reported.
The Phoenix Police Department did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment, but told the local outlets officers arrested a 45-year-old man who lived several houses down from Hernandez.
Police said they found the man noticeably intoxicated in his backyard. He was unwilling to cooperate, KKTV reported.
KPNX reported that police noticed that one of the suspect’s “fingers was bleeding and there was blood on his pants.” The injury was from a dog bite, but the suspect was not bitten by Falco, who was inside his gate and hadn’t left the yard.
The man had allegedly put his hand through another neighbor’s fence where his finger was bitten, KPNX reported, citing court documents.
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Police also found a gun in the man’s back pocket that had the same caliber bullets as the one used to shoot Falco.
Alex was only about 10 feet away from Falco when he was shot, and the court documents noted that he could have easily been hit by the bullet, KPNX reported.
“It’s cruel, it’s evil. There has to be something wrong with you to come over here and shoot a dog in front of a family,” Hernandez said. “It could have been my son and not my dog.”
The suspect faces several charges including animal cruelty and endangerment.