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A Timberline family is wondering who could have shot their beloved dog. Julie Polzin and her family have lived in the Fernwood subdivision of Doney Park north of Flagstaff with their dogs for at least nine years.

Last month, the family left for a day trip to Phoenix and when they returned, one of their dogs, Cooper, a goldendoodle, had been shot by what the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office thinks may have been a pellet gun.

The family rushed Cooper to Canyon Pet Hospital in Flagstaff but Cooper died about a day later. The damage to Cooper’s body was too great, she said. The pellet had passed through Cooper’s chest, injuring his lung and other organs.

Polzin isn’t sure who would want to harm Cooper. She said a couple of complaints were filed with CCSO by a neighbor about the family’s dogs barking a year ago, but she hasn’t heard any complaints since. CCSO has talked to all of the neighbors in the area but doesn't have a suspect yet.

“Cooper was just the sweetest dog,” she said. “He loved everyone. He was the dog that I could take on hikes and I wouldn’t have to worry about him wandering off. All of the kids in the subdivision would ask to pet him.”

Goldendoodles are a mix between a golden retriever and poodle. They are known for their gentle nature, curly coat and the fact that they don’t shed much, which helps many people with allergies. They’re often used as therapy dogs.

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Cooper was so friendly, that Polzin sometimes worried that if he ever got picked up by the dog catcher that the family would never see him again because he would be adopted out of the animal shelter so fast.

The Coconino County Sherriff’s Office is investigating the incident, Polzin said. But because the family didn’t have security cameras on the property they aren’t sure which part of their nearly one-acre yard he was shot on.

The family often left their four dogs out to play in the yard, she said. They didn’t have security cameras on their home because everyone in the neighborhood knows each other and looks out for each other. The yard is also pretty much visible to all of her neighbors.

The investigator told her he thought Cooper may have been shot with a pellet gun. Pellet guns don’t usually have a lot of force behind them, because they use compressed air or a gas to fire a BB or pellet. However, some of the guns allow you to pump them full of air manually and can reach pressures that can fire a pellet that can cause significant damage to a small animal.

She said the family is planning to install security cameras since the shooting because they’re concerned about their other dogs. They have two full-grown dogs and a puppy now. The family also plans to contact an attorney, in case a suspect is ever arrested.

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The reporter can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or (928)556-2253.

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Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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