Wash. couple who survived Vegas shooting says neighbor fatally shot their therapy dog
BELLINGHAM, Wash. (KOMO) – On Sunday morning, Joe Johnson walked down his driveway to find his one-year-old puppy shot and killed.
“When I’d have anxiety and panic attacks, he’d calm me down,” said Johnson.
Johnson and his wife Lona got Jax, a labradoodle, on October 20, which marked 20 days after surviving the Las Vegas mass shooting.
“Even to this day when I’m walking in a city, I tend to look up,” said Joe Johnson outside his Bellingham home on Thursday.
With Joe and Lona in Las Vegas was Lona’s cousin Melinda Brockie, who was hit in the face by a stray bullet.
“Just the noise of it all won’t ever leave. It was terrifying. We got separated from Joe and Lona. We were there together moments before it happened,” said Brockie, who initially recovered at Harborview Medical Center after the shooting.
For Joe, he’s once again faced with sudden tragedy.
“Not so different, both preventable. Yeah, I do feel threatened. I do feel scared in my own home.”
After finding his dead dog, Joe confronted his neighbor across the street.
According to Joe, the 49-year-old man told him, “If it was your dog chasing my chickens, then yes, I shot your dog.”
The Whatcom County Sheriff’s office confirmed the 49-year-old was cited for recklessly aiming and discharging a firearm for shooting towards the street, risking those walking or driving by.
Chief Criminal Deputy Doug Chadwick told KOMO News it is not illegal to shoot an animal, if it’s harming or threatening one’s property, which does include livestock.
Through their investigation, Chadwick said he doesn’t believe any chickens were harmed.
KOMO News tried to talk with the neighbor, but he elected not to share his story at this time.