A search dog was shot and killed at his owner’s home Tuesday in Freeburg, Illinois, leading to public outcry and a $2,000 reward for information in the dog’s shooting.
“There are just no words for how horrible this feels. It’s scary and it’s a very empty feeling,” the dog’s owner, Marla Vollmer, said.
The dog, Rowdy, was a cadaver search dog for Gateway Search Dogs Inc. for six years and worked with nearly every county in the area. Cadaver dogs and their owners work with police to find human remains.
On Tuesday, Vollmer found Rowdy at about 7 p.m. on her property in the Meadowbrook subdivision where the black lab mix had been running outside with Vollmer’s other dog, Ruby.
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Vollmer found Rowdy injured and lying by the road. She rushed him to the vet, who told her Rowdy had been shot with a BB pellet, most likely at close range.
Three days later, Rowdy died at an animal emergency center in Collinsville from extensive internal damage.
Since Rowdy was shot, Vollmer said, her other dog, Ruby, has been confused and searching for him.
“(Ruby) is just kind of lost,” Vollmer said. “She did get to see and sniff him when we brought him home to be buried, but I just don’t think it’s sunk in yet. For either of us.”
On Saturday morning, Vollmer buried Rowdy in his favorite spot for his morning run.
Vollmer said so far, they have no leads on who shot Rowdy or why. She and fellow rescuers offered the reward money as an incentive for information on who shot Rowdy.
Vollmer said she is not accepting donations for the reward because they don’t want it to get out of hand.
However, if people want to contribute, they can make a donation to Belleville Area Humane Shelter under Rowdy’s name, she said. Vollmer adopted Rowdy from the Belleville shelter in 2009.
“I pray that whoever did this comes forward,” she said. “I just want to know why.”
Anyone with information can contact the Freeburg police department at 618-539-3132.