JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 9-year-old dog was shot while trying to protect his owners from an armed burglar that broke into their house while they were fast asleep, the family told News4JAX on Wednesday.
Nichole Vanderpool said it happened two weeks ago at their home on Dellwood Avenue. She said the burglar fired two shots, one of which resulted in the dog Parker’s broken leg.
“We’re so thankful we were not part of any of the violence and Parker took one for us,” Vanderpool said.
She said was awakened at 3 a.m. after falling asleep on the living room couch.
“Out of nowhere, we just heard a really loud sound coming from our bedroom. And our dog, Parker, alerted us by jumping off the couch and running in the way of whatever was happening. And, unfortunately, there was an intruder in our home,” Vanderpool said.
That intruder managed to force open a bedroom window at the back of the house to get inside. Once the intruder made his way through the house, he walked through a hallway and was standing at the edge of the kitchen where he was confronted by Parker.
Two shots were fired at Parker while the dog’s owners were still in the living room. One bullet ricocheted into a wall, and the other went through one of Parker’s legs. His owners were able to grab him, and they ran out the front door, leaving the intruder inside the house.
Vanderpool said that by the time police arrived, the burglar had left the scene after stealing items inside the house. Parker was rushed to an animal emergency room, where he was given a cast and bandaged.
The dog is able to walk, but he still needs surgery to make a recovery. His owners started a GoFundMe account to raise money to help with medical expenses.
“My partner and I have a great life and we do what we can, but we just can’t afford the out-of-pocket expenses right now,” Vanderpool said. “So we started a GoFundMe, and we’re really happy with where it’s going, and we’re just hoping to get as much support as we can.”
Parker’s owners said they no longer feel safe in the home, and they have begun moving to another property.
“We’re new to the area and we wanted so much to make this place work out, but after this, we just really can’t call this place home anymore,” Vanderpool said.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s crime mapping tool, within the past four weeks and in a half-mile radius of the home, there have been reports of seven home burglaries, 10 auto burglaries, an auto theft, a carjacking, seven batteries, two strong-arm robberies and 11 petit thefts.