Bloomfield HillsJuly 2, 2012
Family suspects foul play in loss of beloved pet
By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — It was the evening of June 13 when Ryan Marsh noticed something unusual. His dog, Sully, had just come back to the house after spending about 15 minutes in the yard of their home on Tiverton. Sully was bleeding on the back end of his body, and Marsh assumed the dog had scratched himself on some shrubbery.
But as the hours passed during the night, his family began to notice that Sully was acting a bit out of the ordinary. The next morning they took him to see a veterinarian who, after an X-ray, revealed that Sully wasn’t scratched at all — he had been shot.
“He was in a great deal of pain, and pretty sick,” said Marsh. “With dogs, you have to follow the vet’s recommendation.”
Sully, short for Sullivan, had been struck with a .177-caliber round from an airsoft gun. The bullet was lodged in the lung area, and the prognosis from the doctor was heartbreaking. The Marsh family was forced to say goodbye to their dear Brittany spaniel, who was nearly 12 years old.
Marsh and his wife, Maya, had gotten the dog as a gift for their one-year wedding anniversary. But it was their three children, ranging in age from 3 to 8, who took the loss the hardest.
“They didn’t understand why Sully had gotten hurt,” said Marsh. “They didn’t understand why someone would hurt him. We didn’t tell them exactly what happened, but they had a pretty tough reaction to it. (Sully) was with us before we started having kids.”
Marsh said he believes Sully’s fatal wound was intentional, and not the result of an accidental discharge or poorly aimed shot. He contacted the Bloomfield Hills Police Department to report the shooting, and though the case has yet to be solved, detectives are still investigating.
Chief Richard Matott said he doesn’t suspect that residents have any reason to worry for the safety of other dogs in the neighborhood.
“I don’t think it’s widespread. In fact, we’ve never even had complaints of any dogs in that area,” he said. “I think it’s unique and rare to one dog, but we’re still looking into it.”
If you ask Marsh, though, what happened to Sully should put pet owners on alert. Marsh said that just one week before the incident, his neighbor’s dog had fallen ill, and the veterinarian consulted suspected that the dog had been poisoned. That animal survived, but Marsh said the next family might not be as fortunate.
“Be on the lookout for someone who’s angry or doesn’t like pets. Anyone that can do this; somebody’s got a problem.”
Matott added that it is prohibited in the city of Bloomfield Hills to discharge weapons like airsoft guns. Anyone with information about this incident or who saw something of concern in their own neighborhood can call Bloomfield Hills police at (248) 644-4200.
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