Champ...Yes He Was
Animal Stories from

By Sharon Seltzer on

March 2010

Champ, a 4-year-old German shepherd mix, was shot five times protecting his family’s home from a robbery, surrendered by his owner, held as evidence by the police and finally turned over to a shelter to be euthanized. Life looked pretty bleak for the dog until a rescue group came to his aid.

The details about his background are sketchy, but police brought the unnamed dog to the South Los Angeles Animal Shelter on February 27 with 5 gunshot wounds. They told the shelter he had been shot during a home invasion robbery. The shelter workers named the injured dog – Champ.


Champ’s jawbone was shattered by a bullet that entered just under his eye and is still lodged in his mouth. Another bullet severed a nerve in his leg and three more gunshot wounds cover his neck, shoulder and abdomen.

Champ was kept as evidence at the animal shelter for 10 days while the bullets remained in his body. The shelter was only allowed to give him antibiotics and pain medicine.

And after the police investigation was complete, the shelter was ordered to have him euthanized. The owner had given up custody. Reports are a little unclear why Champ’s owner didn’t want him back, but one news story said it was due to the cost of medical care.

Luckily, the animal shelter took charge of the situation and contacted Tiffany Norton from Coastal German Shepherd Rescue to save him. Champ was released to the rescue group on March 9.

The 70-pound dog was taken to Alicia Pet Care Center in Mission Viejo, CA for a complete examination. He is due to have surgery this week.

“They don’t know if he will need amputation, but it is looking that way,” Norton told “If we leave his leg, he will probably always be dragging it. He would be better off as a three-legged dog. The rest of his joints and hips are strong.”

Norton also reported on Champ’s temperament, “He’s a cutie pie. Although a little shy and scared at first, he takes only minutes to start nuzzling, leaning into you and asking to be petted.”

The initial estimate for Champ’s veterinary care is $5,500 and if he loses his leg it could go even higher. The rescue group has set up a fund at for people who want to help defray the cost.

After the surgery, Coastal German Shepherd Rescue will need a foster home where Champ can recover and then the group will look for a permanent adopted home. The organization was created to find good homes for abandoned German shepherd dogs in Southern California.

Norton is sure Champ will eventually be placed in a wonderful new home. And outside of his recent injuries he is in good health. “It’s amazing that none of the bullets hit a crucial organ or artery,” said Norton.

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