Contributed photo by Angela Zilar
Contributed photo by Angela Zilar
Who shot Rez?
The two bullet holes in his head show somebody wanted him dead. They failed, but even as the victim recovers from surgery there are no suspects.
It’s difficult to interview a dog, which is why his caretakers are hoping that if they spread the word of his recovery wide enough, a human witness may come forward and help solve the mystery of where Rez came from and who tried to kill him.
“Someone needs to be held accountable for what they did,” said Angela Zilar of A2Z Animal Sheltering Services of the Tri-Cities. She is caring for the black and white pit bull until his original owners or a new home can be found.
Three Pendleton residents found Rez — named for the Umatilla Indian Reservation — up on Cabbage Hill two weeks ago. Charles Roe, Brandon Kellogg and Linsey Kellogg were coming home from a day up in the mountains scouting locations for Brandon Kellogg Outdoors, Brandon’s guide business. Near the westbound viewpoint on Interstate 84, they spotted the dog.
“He was laying in the brush when we drove by and poked his head out,” Roe said.
The dog was emaciated, covered in dried blood and a little skittish. The trio thought a coyote had gotten him, so they called their friend Zilar to ask her advice. She said if they felt comfortable with it they should take him into town and get him looked at by a veterinarian or an animal shelter. Once they opened the door to the truck, he hopped in.
“As soon as we got him in the back seat with Linsey, he curled up and put his head in her lap,” Roe said.
It turned out under all the blood and the swelling, it was a pair of bullets from a high-caliber handgun, not coyote teeth, that had done the damage to his head. One bullet sliced through the nerves to Rez’s right eye, rendering it useless, and broke a few teeth before lodging in his jaw. A second passed through his snout.
By the time Rez underwent surgery to have his eye and the bullet removed, it’s estimated he had been shot two to five weeks earlier. During that time it looks like he did possibly fend off an attack from another animal, and had to find his own food and water.
“He’s a survivor, clearly,” Zilar said.
Zilar, Roe and the Kelloggs are stumped by what happened. The scenarios are endless. Perhaps a truck driver didn’t notice until it was too late that Rez had slipped out of the cab when they stopped at the waystation, and someone who felt threatened by the presence of a pit bull later shot him. Perhaps his owner no longer wanted to care for him and took him into the woods to die. He could have been used for nefarious purposes like a dog-fighting ring, or he could have a loving family who lost him while on vacation and are desperately trying to find him.
What his rescuers do know is that he was microchipped in Bakersfield, California, as a puppy almost four years ago, but the microchip was never registered to a specific owner as should have happened when he was adopted. The rescue he came from says they have no record of him, Zilar said, and he must have somehow “slipped through the cracks.”
The Kelloggs kept Rez for a few days after rescuing him, but gave him to Zilar when Linsey — nine months pregnant — went into labor. Zilar has a nonprofit rescue operation called A2Z Animal Sheltering Services. She also works for Tri-Cities Animal Shelter & Control Services, and asked that people with tips about Rez contact her there at 509-545-3740.
If they can’t find his true owner, eventually Rez will be adopted out to a new family. Roe, a former pit bull owner himself, said Rez is well-trained.
“He’s just a big ol’ lapdog,” Roe said. “He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
Contact Jade McDowell at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.