A pellet cost an East Quogue dog a lung last month and now his owners are trying to track down the person responsible for shooting him.
As Jim Tyte drove toward his home on West Side Avenue at about 5 p.m. on January 14 he spotted his two dogs, both rescues, trotting down his street. He yelled at them to get back to the house and by the time he pulled into his driveway, one of the dogs, Molly, a 5-year-old American foxhound mix, was there to greet him. He thought something might be wrong when he saw that his other dog, who is usually always at Molly’s side, was lagging behind.
“He had a shot on the side and was coughing up blood,” Mr. Tyte recalled during a recent interview. “He was in bad shape.”
Virgil, a 20-month-old American foxhound, had been shot once with a pellet gun.
“Not really recognizing—I’d never seen a shot dog before—I got him inside so he could rest,” Mr. Tyte said. “We ended up taking him to the emergency hospital in Riverhead and they did a really good job and were able to save him.”
Virgil had both lobes of his left lung removed, Mr. Tyte said, adding that the procedure was quite costly, although he declined to say how much for fear that disclosing the amount might cause the perpetrator to go deeper into hiding.
Mr. Tyte believes that after his wife, Susan, received a delivery from UPS at around 4:30 p.m. that day, the dogs were able to open the door to their enclosed porch and escape.
Because the animals still were close to the house, Mr. Tyte believes that the shooting took place somewhere between his home and Montauk Highway, so he thinks that one of his neighbors might be responsible.
In the 17 years he’s lived on West Side Avenue, Mr. Tyte has always had at least one dog and he’s never run into problems before, he said. He also noted that, normally, his neighbors are helpful if there’s a dog on the loose, adding that Virgil and Molly are generally well behaved.
“Anytime they’ve gotten out we’ve had friendly neighbors that bring them back and we’ve returned the favor,” he said. “We’re really just shocked that someone, in this day and age, would shoot someone else’s dog.”
The Tytes filed a report with the Southampton Town Police and they have posted signs around their neighborhood offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide information about who shot their dog. Those with any information are asked to call (631) 653-4880.
Mr. Tyte said Virgil is doing well so far, but he will probably suffer shortness of breath, to some degree, for the rest of his life.
“I don’t think that anyone’s going to fess up to it, but it’s good for people to know that this kind of thing happens,” he said.