Search dog shot in Freeburg, reward to find culprit grows

A search dog was shot in Freeburg on Tuesday and, as the dog recovers at a veterinary clinic, a reward fund to find the culprit has grown to more than $2,100.

The dog Rowdy, 8, is a black lab mix who is a cadaver dog for Gateway Search Dogs Inc.  He has been on more than 30 missions in the bi-state area since he was certified about five years ago. A cadaver dog is trained to use its sense of smell to find human remains. Some of the searches Rowdy has taken part in are cold cases.

His owner, Marla Vollmer, found Rowdy at about 7 p.m. Tuesday near the road on her property in the Meadowbrook subdivision in Freeburg. The vet said Rowdy had been shot with a BB pellet, either by a high-powered weapon or at close range, based on the injury, Vollmer said. 

Rowdy was not conducting a search when he was shot. He was simply running in his yard, on a 40-acre plot, when it happened, said Vollmer, who is the sister of Post-Dispatch digital editor Amanda St. Amand.

Rowdy has undergone a three-hour surgery at an animal-emergency center in Collinsville to repair his bowel. The BB remains embedded in the muscle of his right flank.

Vollmer said the reward was set up as an incentive to find the person who shot the dog.

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“I just want to make sure they understand what they’ve done here and it never happens again,” she said.

Freeburg police are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call Freeburg police at 618-539-3132.

Vollmer said the next 24 hours, and whether he has an infection, for example, will determine much in Rowdy’s recovery. “So far his blood pressure has been good, they’ve drawn blood and that’s been doing OK. So far, so good.”

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