FORT WORTH -- For Brittany Warren, the shooting of Susie, her 2-year-old Yorkie, has taken away the sense of safety at her south Fort Worth home.
The 7-pound dog was shot about 7:30 p.m. Sunday as she poked her head though a small opening in a brick wall. Susie suffered severe injuries to her face, and Warren took her to a veterinarian to be euthanized.
The shooter, whom Warren believes is male, had been walking on a sidewalk along West Risinger Road, behind the home.
"All I saw was someone with white tennis shoes," Warren said. "They stopped and shot her."
The shooting has left Warren and her two daughters, who normally play in the back yard, feeling unsafe in their Summer Creek Ranch Estates home. With the help of neighbors, Warren is putting up a $7,000 reward to help catch the shooter.
"The kids are afraid," she said. "You can't let them run or play outside and we're afraid to let our other dog, Cupcake, out in the back yard."
Fort Worth police detectives are investigating, but spokeswoman Sharron Neal said this kind of case is extremely unusual.
That was echoed by Fort Worth Animal Care and Control officers, who said animal cruelty cases usually involve the animal's owner.
"What happened this past weekend is very rare," said Scott Hanlan, assistant director of the Code Compliance Department, which oversees animal control.
Last year, animal control officers investigated 1,800 complaints of animal cruelty in Fort Worth, but only a handful were serious enough to require a criminal investigation by police, Hanlan said. Most dealt with issues of neglect, where an underfed or abandoned animal was reported.
"From time to time, you'll hear something about somebody, usually a teen, doing something with a cat, but most of what we investigate involves the animal's owner," Hanlan said.
The Humane Society of the United States has noted that most abuse go unrecognized or unreported.
In a survey of news media reports released last year, the Humane Society reported that dogs were the most commonly abused animals. Of 1,880 cruelty cases reported in the news media in 2007, 64 percent involved dogs.
Legislators have recognized that animal cruelty is a growing problem. In 1986, only four states had felony provisions for animal cruelty. Now, 47 states, including Texas, have made some animal cruelty offenses a felony. The only holdouts are Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698