Megan Gambone of Roxborough holds back tears as she tries to figure out a way to explain to her one-year-old daughter why their 55-pound beloved pet, Mr. Dogg, isn't coming home.
"I just say 'the doggie went bye-bye,' because that's the only thing she'll understand," Gambone said on Monday morning, two days after her eight-year-old rescue dog was shot and killed on her Roxborough property in broad daylight.
Gambone, who lives on the 400 block of Leverington Ave., says she let Mr. Dogg out into her fenced-in yard around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, when her friend came over to visit with his daughters. She says she put him outside so he wouldn't scare the young kids.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
"My friend was there about 10 minutes. We heard him barking, no big deal," Gambone recalled. "Then I, all of a sudden, heard one single pop — and it didn't sound like a gun — and immediately after, I heard a dog yelp."
Gambone ran outside to the front part of the side alley of her house and found her dog with a wound on his side.
"It was bleeding really, really bad, and I started screaming, 'Did somebody just shoot my dog?,'" she said. "I was really shaken. I just wanted to fix my dog."
As neighbors started trickling outside to see what happened, Gambone and her friend frantically wrapped the dog in a towel to control the bleeding. She rushed him to Penn Vet Hospital while her friend stayed back to file a report with the police.
Within a few hours at the hospital, Mr. Dogg's lung had collapsed, and his injuries become so severe that he had to be euthanized.
According to the veterinarian, Gambone says, it seems that her dog was shot by a 22-caliber gun, based on the size of the wound and the way the bullet traveled from the dog's chest into his abdomen.
Gambone says she wasn't aware of barking being an issue for any of her neighbors, especially since many of her neighbors have dogs themselves.
"He's not the kind of dog that barks nonstop. He's not outside that much, and he's not a nuisance dog," she said. "That's what dogs do, they bark, and I've never gotten a complaint. No one has come to us to complain or called a complaint in."
Gambone says she went to the 5th District Police Department on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough to follow up after putting her dog down on Saturday night. She said officers told her that there were no witnesses and no cases left on the ground, which made it difficult to investigate.
A spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Police Department said the Northwest Detective Division has the case, but added that "they really dont have much to go on."
Gambone posted an update on the incident on a neighborhood blog on Monday morning. She said she wanted to make sure everyone in the community was aware of what happened.
"Our neighborhood is safe, but things like this can happen anywhere," she said.