JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An 8-year-old pit bull missing since a Jacksonville police officer's Murray Hill home was burglarized Monday afternoon was found alive Friday morning, although he had a bullet wound to his snout.
The officer's friends organized a search to find the dog, Hemingway, at 9 a.m. Friday starting at the First Alliance Baptist Church on Hamilton Street. The dog was found by two volunteers about an hour later less than a mile from his home and a half-mile from the church.
"I want to thank the community of Jacksonville for rallying behind me and finding this dog," said the officer, who News4Jax is not naming. "This dog and I are going to testify against this suspect to make sure justice is taken care of."
Patrick Bell, 14, was arrested after police said he crashed while evading police in the officer's stolen pickup truck. Bell is charged with armed burglary, auto theft, one count of aggravated battery on an officer and three counts of aggravated assault on an officer. Since he faces charges of aggravated assault on an officer, Bell could be prosecuted as an adult.
The two women who found the dog told News4Jax when they first saw Hemingway, he was "a little skittish."
"So I moved slowly towards him and he walked by me. He didn't want to be touched yet," Jeannie Forney said. "So I followed him down and he curved into the fenced enclosure ... he let me get him. We gave him some treats and he never stopped shaking."
Hemingway was treated for the gunshot wound at Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orange Park, which provided the veterinary services free of charge through charitable contributions. Hemingway is expected to be OK.
The two volunteers who found and returned the dog declined the $1,000 reward the officer had offered. He said he would donate the money to charity, instead.
“I appreciate all of y'all. Thank you,” he said.