Crime

Dorchester man, 18, fatally shoots rescue dog in Roxbury backyard, police allege

“He was a big dog, and he looked scary, but he is such a gentle giant. There’s not a single person who’s met Comet who doesn’t love him.”

Boston police arrested an 18-year-old Dorchester man who, they allege, shot a 4-year-old dog in the backyard of a Roxbury home on Sunday morning. The dog later succumbed to his injuries.

Antonio Moore is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and malicious killing of a domestic animal, police said in a statement.

Around 10:57 a.m. on Sunday, officers responded to a call for an automated ShotSpotter alert near 97 Brunswick St. in Roxbury, officials said.

Officers at the scene found “ballistic evidence” and learned a dog was shot and taken to an animal hospital by its owner, authorities said.

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Owner Julia Roehrich told Boston 25 News she was in her backyard with her rescue dog, Comet, a pit bull-Labrador retriever mix, on Devon Street, around the block from Brunswick Street, when she heard gunshots.

While she called police, Roehrich heard the gate to her yard open, someone shout an expletive, and then a single gunshot, she said.

Comet often greeted people at the gate, Roehrich said.

“A single shot, and then Comet just started screaming and crying and he ran back,” Roehrich told Boston 25 News. “And he went down into the basement where he hides during thunderstorms.”

According to Roehrich, the bullet entered Comet’s shoulder blade and exited his groin. One of his kidneys, his spleen, and eight inches of his colon were removed as doctors tried to save his life.

But Comet developed an infection, followed by sepsis, and suffered internal bleeding, she said.

“Monday night he had a seizure, and Tuesday morning he had another seizure. And he passed away after the second one,” Roehrich told the news station. “The whole neighborhood … was really rooting for him, especially when they saw me carrying him to my car.”

A GoFundMe campaign raised thousands of dollars to help cover the cost of Comet’s medical bills, but Roehrich is now trying to return some money to donors since the final amount collected exceeded the medical expenses, according to Boston 25 News.

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“It’s really hard, because my home smells like him, his fur is everywhere. It’s hard to be in the backyard,” Roehrich said of losing Comet, a foster dog whom she ultimately could not give away. “He was a big dog, and he looked scary, but he is such a gentle giant. There’s not a single person who’s met Comet who doesn’t love him.”

Roehrich wants people to learn that their bad decisions could have horrific consequences for their victims.

“I just don’t understand why this guy had to come through our backyard and shoot my dog in our yard when he had no right or reason to be back there at all,” Roehrich said. “Comet has never hurt anyone or anything, and he wouldn’t. So, it’s just frustrating for him to be an innocent bystander and for him to be targeted this way.”

Moore was identified as a suspect through a police investigation, authorities said. Police were granted a warrant for his arrest and arrested him at his residence without incident on Thursday.

He was slated to be arraigned in Dorchester District Court.

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