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Therapy dog meant to help children with father's death shot and killed in Carver County

Minnesota family mourns therapy dog fatally shot
Minnesota family mourns therapy dog fatally shot 01:59

NORWOOD YOUNG AMERICA, Minn. — Authorities are investigating after they say a dog was fatally shot in a small town southwest of the Twin Cities.

The Carver County Sheriff's Office says it received a report around 5:50 p.m. on Saturday that a family's dog had been shot in Young America Township.

The caller said a family member had been walking the dog to the end of their driveway in rural Carver County when they lost sight of it. It returned about 15 minutes later with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.

The dog went to the vet, where they determined its injuries were too severe and the dog had to be put down.

Anyone who has any information related to the shooting is asked to call the Carver County Sheriff's Office at 952-361-1212. For tips to be anonymous, call the tip line at 952-361-1224 or submit a tip online.

Family living in fear after shooting

Arielle Brandenburg says she's been living with the fear for herself and her two young boys ever since losing their beloved pup, Gus.

"We shouldn't have to live in fear if someone's going to decide if our animal's last day is today," said Brandenburg

Brandenburg says her son went to the end of their driveway Saturday afternoon to grab the mail with Gus accompanying him, as usual.

"His dog likes to lay at the end of the driveway, and he laid there. And then about eight minutes later, his dog came running up the driveway, bleeding through his back leg, and he was shot three times through the back," said Brandenburg.

Arielle Brandenburg

The family took Gus to the vet but tragically they were told his injuries were too severe.

"I don't know why someone would want to shoot this dog, but clearly, that's what happened," said Chief Deputy Patrick Barry with the Carver County Sheriff's Office. "I don't know if it was out of spite or some other reason, and that's what we need to find out. The family deserves some answers."

Brandenburg says Gus was only out of sight for 10 minutes, but believes the dog stayed put and was on their property when he was shot, given his training as a service dog.

"They lost their father to suicide a few years ago, and Gus was the thing that got them through it," said Brandenburg. "He knew when my kiddos were having an anxiety attack, when they were grieving hard, and he would go and be the heavy weighted blanket on top of their bodies, and Gus would go everywhere with us. It's a very, very sad situation when you have such big loss in your life as a parent, and then you lose a dog that literally got you through that loss and not knowing who did it and why they did it."

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