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Family looks for answers in dog shooting

SAN MARCO, Fla. – The caretakers of a dog that was found shot to death last week have found some evidence that they hope will lead to the arrest of the person responsible.

Champ, the 10-year-old Labrador-Dalmatian mix, was shot last Saturday in San Marco off of Bertha Street and belonged to a 90-year-old veteran in hospice care.

World War II veteran Richard Palczewski was rarely without his sidekick, Champ, right by his side and as his health deteriorated, family members said Champ's companionship was invaluable. 

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But on Saturday, Champ was found dead with a gunshot wound in his own backyard.

Palczewski's family is saying that now they've found one of the bullets that killed the dog and they hope it'll be the break in the case they need to find Champ's killer.

"Champ was shot and the bullet went into the right side of his shoulder and out the left side, and animal care and control came and picked him up the day it happened and saw that the bullet wasn't in him," Peggy Baker, one of Palczewski's family members, said.

Baker said she found the bullet that passed through Champ's body days later, and she suspects the dog was shot by one Palczewski's neighbors because he was barking.

"There so many other animals and you think about the way champ was shot, there are so many kids in that neighborhood, so that bullet could have ricocheted and hit someone's child so we have to keep these kind of people off the street," Baker said.

JSO detectives confirm, they now have possession of the bullet, but it's still unclear how much they can learn from the evidence.

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A police spokesman said that the bullet is mangled and lacks the grooves and indentations typically used for ballistics.

Baker said that Palczewski blames himself for his dogs death because he wasn't home to take care of him, but Baker said the only person to blame, is the man or woman who took Champ's life.

"He was heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken, and I just want to see justice because people think animals are just animals but they are our family, they are our kids," Baker said.

JSO officers said they are working on information in the case and they do have a potential suspect.

If arrested, the shooter could face animal cruelty charges, which is a third-degree felony.
 


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