Minnesota dog shoots pheasant-hunting owner

Sunday, October 27, 2002

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. -- Pheasant season took an ugly turn for Michael Murray when he was shot by Sonny, his year-old English setter pup.

The puppy knew something was very wrong when Murray dropped to the ground with blood spurting from his ankle. "Sonny just laid by my side," Murray said. "He knew something was bad."

Murray, 42, was hunting in western South Dakota on the first day of the season last Saturday. He said he was lining up a photo of the seven birds his hunting party shot in the first hour.

A loaded 12-gauge shotgun lay on the ground near the frisky dog.

"He stepped on the gun and it went off," Murray said. "At first I didn't know what happened. I got that blinding flash of pain and I sat down. Blood was pumping out of my ankle."

His brother-in-law, Chuck Knutson of Woodbury, quickly tied a tourniquet above Murray's right boot. The third member of the hunting party was Murray's father, also Michael, of New Richmond, Wis.

"My dad's 75," Murray said, "He was white as a ghost."

The three men climbed into their truck and drove to a relative's house. A half-hour later, an ambulance took Murray to a nearby hospital.

After 15 stitches and a night in the hospital, Murray is on course for a complete recovery.

"It was the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me," he said.

Murray admits there is a certain amount of notoriety that goes along with getting shot by your dog.

"That's the hard part, talking to people, because you feel like such a fool," he said.

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