Tank, a 2-year-old 100-pound Rottweiler who lives in south Scottsdale, is down in the mouth right now, but considering the circumstances, he's a lucky dog.
The black-and-brown dog is recovering from a gunshot wound to his mouth after a man opened fire on him about 8 p.m. Friday as he was walking in the 6800 block of East Almeria Road near McDowell Road.
Tank suffered partially fractured jaws on both sides of his mouth and had three of his teeth knocked out before the bullet exited through his tongue.
Tank now has stitches on his chin, a wire across his mouth and has to be spoon- and bottle-fed for at least four weeks while he is recovering, according to owner Ronetta Shepherd.
"It's a bad thing, and it's a sorry thing that happened," Shepherd said. "It's something you don't expect to happen. Who knows why he shot the dog to begin with? I didn't think he was going to make it that first night. His tongue was all black."
Tank was about three houses down the street from where he lives when witnesses said they saw a man running down the street after they heard a loud bang and a dog yelping, according to Scottsdale police.
Derek Smith, Shepherd's daughter's boyfriend, said he had driven to a nearby convenience store to get a soda, and when he returned, said he saw a crowd of kids running to the house.
The dog had run back home, and was sitting by the door to the house from the carport.
"I had no idea what was going on," Smith said. "There was blood everywhere."
Shepherd said she arrived at home from work about 10 minutes after the incident.
"I came home to a mess," she said.
Shepherd said Tank has become skittish of people after being shot. "He's a big fool," Shepherd said of Tank. "He's always been curious and pretty fun-loving, but he's never been aggressive."
Police said the man responsible could be facing charges for animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within city limits.
"I wish the guy would step forward and take responsibility for it, but that'll likely never happen," Shepherd said.