Police search for person who shot runaway dog in face in Decatur park

These are photos of Sterling the dog before he was shot in Glenlake Park early Monday morning.

Credit: GoFundMe

Combined ShapeCaption
These are photos of Sterling the dog before he was shot in Glenlake Park early Monday morning.

Credit: GoFundMe

The dog’s owner said she heard the gunshot but didn’t connect it to her missing dog ‘because why would anyone shoot a dog in the face’

Police are searching for whoever shot a dog in the face in a popular Decatur park.

The owner of the dog, who is named Sterling, said her dog ran away early Monday morning to chase a rabbit into Glenlake Park, according to multiple Facebook posts from her friends and a GoFundMe page. Despite searching for about 20 minutes, the owner wasn’t able to find Sterling, but she did hear a loud bang, which led her to keep investigating.

“I heard a gun shot but did not put two and two together (because why would anyone shoot a dog in the face) until I wandered into the park, finding a pool of blood and a long trail of blood to where I found my dog,” the owner, who lives in an apartment near the park, wrote in the GoFundMe page.

Decatur police arrived at the park at about 4:30 a.m. and found the injured dog. The dog had a gunshot wound to the bridge of his nose, and he was rushed to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital where he is now stable, according to police.

The incident prompted several residents in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood, which includes Glenlake Park, to come to the dog owner’s support. As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe page had raised more than $8,000 to help with Sterling’s medical bills. The owner wrote, “I want to genuinely thank everyone for all the prayers, love, and kind words. It means the world to me to have this much support throughout the community.”

In a private Facebook group for Oakhurst residents, several people remain worried about the person who would shoot a dog so brazenly in a public place like Glenlake Park, which is off Church Street. One neighbor, who said she was good friends with Sterling’s owner, said the park is constantly abuzz with families and pet owners.

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“I grew up going to the park and pool there and take my niece there now so it makes me feel uneasy knowing someone that close to my friends and family was on the walkway with a gun. I know it’s closed at night but I’m sure many still walk their dogs or exercise at night there,” the post said. “PLEASE be safe and be aware of your surroundings. Please keep her dog in your prayers.”

The shooting is under investigation. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Decatur police at 678-553-6628 or robert.lindsey@decaturga.com. Tipsters can also contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477 or online at www.StopCrimeATL.com. Tips can be sent anonymously and information that leads to an arrest and indictment in this investigation can earn tipsters up to $2,000.