An Army veteran, whose dog was killed last week, is asking the Army to give his dog a burial with military honors.
Mike, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, was shot and killed last Saturday by a man who said the dog threatened him.
Matthew Bessler, Mike’s owner, served in Iraq with him. Mike was a combat dog that was also used to detect bombs. After their deployment, Bessler adopted Mike. According to Bessler, Mike helped him cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I raised him and trained him as a puppy, and the ability he has to sense some of the issues that I have with seizures, with my PTSD, my TBI (traumatic brain injury) and severe anxiety disorders, how he can calm me down just by him being in my presence … He can help take the focus and help change the focus of what’s going on with me and help me calm down or relax me,” Bessler said.
According to USA Today, the bicyclist who shot Mike told the police that while he was riding his bicycle, he encountered a pack of dogs and felt threatened by them. The bicyclist told the police that he tried using his bicycle to fend off the dogs at first. When the bicycle didn’t scare them off, he reached for the gun mounted on his bicycle.
Bessler, who was out of town on a hunting trip for veterans, disputes the bicyclist’s claim. He said that his neighbors didn’t hear Mike barking before the gunshot, making it hard for him to believe the bicyclist’s story.
“If the guy was actually fending the dogs off with a bicycle, (Mike) would have really been barking, and there was no barking,” Bessler said. “All there was was just a shot. The guests who were at the house, they said the same thing. There was no barking. It was just a gunshot.”
The police did not cite the bicyclist for any wrongdoing.
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