July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Cruel fate for family’s pet

LIVERPOOL TWP. — Two weeks after finding her dog Mendel shot dead near the side porch of her home, Carri Gerber said she cannot believe something like this could have happened on the quiet cul-de-sac where she lives with her family, three dogs and other pets.

“I thought we moved out to the country to be safe,” she said. “All the houses on the street here either have an animal or child in them.”

On Aug. 14, Carri and her 7-year-old daughter, Alexis Willard, went out to eat at about 6:20 p.m. When they returned to their home in the 2600 block of Grassy Branch Drive at about 8 p.m., the dog’s body was found near the side porch, a Medina County sheriff’s report said. Two other dogs that were outside, Orion and Alphabet, were unharmed.

Gerber said she usually kept Mendel, a female shepherd mix, in the garage with the two other dogs when they were away but somehow the dogs were out that evening. Another dog, a female miniature dachshund puppy named Cleopatra, was inside the house.

At about 7:15, two teenage boys at a nearby house said they heard three dogs barking at a neighbor’s dog across the street and heard a noise a short time later that they thought was a gunshot, the sheriff’s report said.

Gerber said that when she arrived home with her daughter, Orion, also a female shepherd mix, was lying in the shade under a tree and Alphabet, a female chocolate Lab, was lying next to Mendel, shaking.

Gerber and her husband, Tom Willard, then called the sheriff’s office.

A few days later, a veterinarian performed an autopsy that showed Mendel was shot with a .22-caliber bullet on her left side and only lived for a couple of minutes afterward, Gerber said.

She is thankful for the neighbors who have been helpful, mentioning how a few girls down the street made cards for Alexis, who was especially close to Mendel.

“They used to sit together by the front window and look outside,” Gerber said. “She doesn’t have brothers or sisters — this is them for her.”

Most days, Alexis and one of her parents walk around the neighborhood so she can see everything is safe.

The three other dogs have also had to take on different roles because Mendel was the dominant dog of the group, Gerber said.

“She (Alphabet) has to take care of the puppy now,” she said as Cleopatra was trying to get Alphabet to play with her in the yard by barking and jumping around.

The family got Mendel as a puppy two years ago after the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took her away from her owner because she had been abused. The other three dogs were all rescued from animal shelters, Gerber said.