CLAREMONT — Gunner, a 2-year-old Mastiff-Boxer mix, is heading into surgery after he was shot Sunday afternoon while playing at Monadnock Park, according to his owner, Taysa Combs.
“He made it through the night,” Combs said Monday.
Claremont police are continuing to investigate the situation, but Combs said the shooter is a man who came to the park on Sunday to play tennis at the courts.
Combs brought Gunner to the fenced-in tennis courts to allow the dog to run around, she said. Combs often brings her dog to the courts to let him play when the courts are not in use by tennis players. She said she always gives up the courts to players when they show up. Gunner is a friendly dog who might run off to be with other people if not fenced in, she said.
“He loves people,” Combs said.
A man and a woman came to the courts to play, Combs said, and she called out to them to wait so she could get Gunner on his leash before they opened the gate. The man didn’t listen, Combs said, and started opening the gate anyway.
Gunner proceeded to run toward the opening and the man, and the big dog pushed his way through the gate, Combs said. That’s when the man started running away, she said. She called out to ask the man not to run, knowing Gunner would think it was a game and chase after the man, she said.
“He’s big and goofy, I figured he would run,” Combs said. “The guy started freaking out.”
That’s when the gun appeared, she said. Combs begged him not to shoot.
“I said, ‘Please don’t shoot my dog,’” Combs said.
The man fired anyway, Combs said. Combs said she is not sure how many times he shot. Then he and the woman he came to play tennis with ran out of the park before police could arrive, Combs said. Gunner lay peacefully on the ground as police arrived and helped bring him to the veterinarian.
The dog now has shattered bones and will need surgery, Combs said. Combs said the veterinarian is not sure how many times Gunner was shot, because of the way at least one bullet fragmented.