Police in Manassas Park, Virginia are investigating a case of animal cruelty that has caused an outpouring of support for a dog recovering from multiple gunshot wounds.
The pup has gained widespread attention from the community as people rallied to cover his treatment and find the person responsible.
The shooting occurred in a wooded area between the Manassas VRE parking lot and an apartment complex near 9300 Manassas Drive at about 9:25 a.m., according to the Manassas Park Police Department.
News4 spoke by phone with Rafael, a man who was on his balcony with his own dog when he heard six gun shots. Moments later, Rafael said, he saw a man walk quickly out of the woods to a black SUV in the parking lot.
Limping behind him was a dog.
"The dog, if anything, looked confused why the door closed on him," Rafael said. "It was kind of heartbreaking seeing that."
The driver then fled the scene, according to police.
Manassas Park Police arrived at the scene and followed a trail of blood back into the woods, where they found the dog and rushed him to get emergency medical care.
Surgery was performed on Monday to remove a bullet from his jaw, according to police. He also received multiple stitches at the entry and exit wounds, but will need his right hind leg amputated.
The pooch with floppy ears and brown and white fur is now "resting comfortably" at MedVet Northern Virginia’s facility. He is recovering in stable condition.
Donations have poured in to both the police department and MedVet Northern Virginia.
“Any donations over the allotted amount will go directly to our Lucas Fund, which is our hospital's fund to help Northern Virginia pets in need,” MedVet Northern Virginia said in a Facebook post.
Police believe the man in the SUV knew the dog, based on the animal’s behavior immediately after the shooting.
"The only thing I can describe is that if a pet, or a dog, would follow somebody back out of the woods after being shot multiple times -- that shows the love that that animal had for that person," Manassas Police Capt. Frank Winston said.
Police said detectives were working hard to follow up on leads. The person who shot the dog faces a felony charge of animal cruelty and gun charges.