Dog Survives Being Shot While Defending His Owner

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

A bullmastiff mix, appropriately named Legend, is expected to recover after being shot by a group of men attempting to break into his owner’s Tampa, Florida, home.

On the afternoon of Feb. 17, Legend’s owner, Damien Strickland, 25, noticed several men walking towards him and tried to get in the house, but he was struck with a firearm. He was then dragged inside and Strickland’s girlfriend, Mersadie Wells-Shahan, 19, and her mother, Brenda Cronk, 45, tried to help.

Legend entered the fray, biting one of the men. Shots were fired and the women screamed, scaring off the attackers, but not before Legend was struck by two bullets, Patch reported.

Strickland suffered lacerations and Wells-Shahan sustained some minor injuries while the suspects tried to tie her up with duct tape. “That dog saved my life,” she told Bay News 9.

Deputies found two suspects near the scene, including Michael Jovahnny Rivera, 23, who has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, armed home invasion and felony animal cruelty charges.

Rivera was easily identifiable, in part because he tried to hide the bite mark Legend inflicted. 

“Deputies observed blood on his pants and noted puncture wounds on his left hand which appeared to be consistent with a fresh dog bite,” authorities said in an email.

Police expect to arrest more people soon, but so far only Rivera has been charged.

Legend has been given back to Strickland.

Sources: Patch, Bay News 9 Image via Patch