Activists hope St. Joseph dog who survived two bullets to the head will prompt stricter laws against animal abuse

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Animal advocates congregated in Overland Park Saturday to meet and crown their new poster dog.

Laggie is a pit bull, shot and left for dead near St. Joseph, Mo. in late April. She spent 10 days at Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital, recovering from two bullets to the head.

Laggie

Her foster family wants her to become the face of change in animal abuse law in Kansas and Missouri.

In a big home on the edge of Lee’s Summit, Laggie carefully hobbles around a room. It will, at least for now, be her home.

It’s been just a couple of hours since the pit bull left the animal hospital. She still has nerve damage from where one bullet hit the right side of her head. Her version of sitting is more of a slow, gradual falling onto her stomach.

“She has been through a tremendous amount of pain,” said Shane Rudman, “that none of us could probably understand.”

Her story is overwhelming. According to her foster family and rescue groups, a couple out mushrooming in St. Joseph, Mo. heard two gunshots. Instead of running from it, they ran right to the sound. They found the white pit bull, Laggie, on the side of the road with two gunshots right to the back of her head. It was still alive. They took their shirts off their backs, and sought help.

Against all odds, and thousands in hospital bills, she survived. Rudman, the patriarch in her foster family, hopes she thrives, and becomes, as he said, "a poster dog for the whole movement."

Rudman is so serious about this, he even got Laggie her own lawyer, Tristen Woods.

“I know she had to take the bullet, per se,” he said, “but it didn’t go in vain. We’re going to punish the guy who did this.”

Woods is looking at changing the law. “Now we’re going to try to implement a Tennesseee law,” he explained, “which is to have a dog registry.”

Woods continued, “Under that dog registry, if you’re convicted of being a dog abuser, you’ve got your picture, you’ve got your address, you’ve got your description of a charge, and you’re on there for two years. And if you get a second charge, you’re on there for five years.”

Rudman added, “Just like the sex offenders list, there’s going to be an animal abusers list in Kansas and Missouri.”

Which is why dozens rallied outside the animal hospital that treated Laggie. Signs, people, and calls for change filled the parking lot.

Natalie Cameron was one of those people.

“It’s not fair,” she said. "You can’t do that to a person, so why should you be able to hurt an animal and just leave them there?"

Laggie, her advocates say, took a bullet for animals everywhere. They hope this is the beginning of the end of animal abuse.

Woods, the lawyer, said “there’s a ton of animal abuse here, you wouldn’t even believe it. As we stand here right now, things are going on right now.”

“People just feel like they’ll just get a slap on the wrist, nothing’s going to happen to them,” he added.

Rudman, the foster family for Laggie, points to research showing animal abuse is a predictor of future violence. That’s why he wants everyone to be aware of animal abuse.

“If somebody abuses animals more than once,” he said, “the odds are extremely high they will abuse humans.”

According to the National Link Coalition, research also shows that.