The support dog of an Army veteran was found dead near train tracks in Boone County, Kentucky on JaD. 29.
The dog, a 3-year-old husky named Gunner, went missing on Jan. 12, according to WLWT5.
Fourteen-year Army veteran Bryan Vallandingham relied on Gunner for safety. The dog would alert the family when Vallandingham was about to have a seizure, sometimes as many as 30 minutes beforehand, so they could make sure he was safe.
Vallandingham started having seizures after an accident in the military.
“They were loading Blackhawks for 9/11 to take water and supplies over there and making trips back and forth,”said Vallandingham’s wife, via WLWT5. “On his last trip, they were going into the flight bay and the door came down and crushed his skull.”
A shelter found Gunner shot in the head near railroad tracks along Dixie Highway.
The family believes the dog’s death is connected with text messages a family member received the day before that sought tried an iTunes gift card or cash in exchange for the dog’s return, reported WLWT5.
The family refused, according to Fox News.
Since Gunner went missing, Vallandingham’s seizures have become more frequent, his sister-in-law told Fox19.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Office is investigating if extortion is related to Gunner’s death.
The cost of cremating the dog is being covered by a local organization that specializes in helping pet owners deal with pet deaths.
Vallandingham is getting a new service dog within eight weeks, WLWT5 reported.