Veteran wants military funeral for combat dog fatally shot

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(October 18, 2015) – A veteran is fighting to get a military funeral for a combat dog that was fatally shot last weekend.

According to the Billings Gazette, military veteran Matthew Bessler and Mike, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, served two tours in Iraq together.

After Bessler and Mike returned to the states, Mike became a service dog and helped Bessler cope with his PTSD.

But everything changed on Saturday, October 10.

Mike was outside of Bessler’s home in the small town of Powell, Wyoming while Bessler was hunting in the mountains.

When Bessler returned home, he found out that a bicyclist had shot and killed Mike.

According to the Billings Gazette, the man shot Mike from five to ten feet away in the dog’s backside. The man who shot Mike was uninjured, but he said he felt threatened by the dog.

“I couldn’t really … I was very distraught about it. I just lost my family member, and I just, I asked … I wanted to know how,” Bessler told the Billings Gazette of his reaction when his roommate and a neighbor broke the news to him.

The Park County Sheriff’s office did not respond to requests from The Billings Gazette for information on the incident.

Bessler and members of the Powell community are collecting money to give Mike a burial with military honors. A GoFundMe page titled “RIP Major Mike – Hero Service Dog” was set up in his honor.

All the funds left over from the money raised will be donated to an organization for war veterans.

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