Cops rescue dog from hot car after owner is killed by gunman

Officers in Missouri found the car unlocked and were able to reunite Zeke with a family member

By TJ Macias
The Charlotte Observer

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A dog in Springfield, Missouri, ended up stuck in a hot car in a Walmart parking lot after his owner was shot and killed.

The owner, 33-year-old Tanner L. Stichka, was killed in front of the Walmart after approaching a man in a van, KTVI reported.

The dog, named Zeke, wasn’t discovered until an hour and a half after the fatal shooting when police received a call about a pup alone in a car.

According to a Facebook post from Springfield Police, the car door was unlocked so the officers were able to safely remove Zeke and get him to a local vet.

“SPD Officer Victoria Myers sat with Zeke before he was able to be admitted for the night,” the officers said. “While at the vet, a good Samaritan donated $100 for Zeke’s care.

”This morning Officers Adamson and Bashioum picked up Zeke and took him to his regular vet where he is waiting to be picked up by family.”


The comment section on the department’s post has been blowing up with people praising the officers and, of course, praising Zeke.

“That poor baby!” one person exclaimed. “He lost his happy that people helped him. I hope and pray that he has family that love him. Thank you SPD!!!!”

“Thank you for saving this fur baby’s life,” said another. “You went out of your way to keep him safe. Thank you.”

“Was at the emergency vet last night when he came in, the officer with him was so kind to him,” said another commenter. “(Didn’t know the back story) He looked happy to have found a safe friend.”

Officers Adamson and Bashioum are the ones pictured with Zeke in the patrol car and people commented on how happy the pup appears.

“First of all.... who the goodest best boy!!” said one person.

“Now that’s three sweet and good looking guys,” observed another.

“How adorable. I think he thinks he is a K9 now,” said another. “He looks like he ready for the job. Thank you Springfield Police and the good Samaritan who helped with Zeke.”

“Happiest anybody’s looked in the back of a squad car,” one person joked.

High temperatures in cars can be fatal if an animal is trapped inside so the Humane Society has ways to help a pet that’s left in a hot car:

“Take down the car’s make, model and license plate number.”

“If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner. Many people are unaware of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars and will quickly return to their vehicle once they are alerted to the situation.”

“If the owner can’t be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. In several states, good Samaritans can legally remove animals from cars under certain circumstances, so be sure to know the laws in your area and follow any steps required.”

An Arkansas man was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Stichka, but he was released from custody without charges on Thursday, KSN reported.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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