Talk about biting the bullet — or in this case, several.
Baxter County, Arkansas’s Baxter Bulletin reports that on April 22nd, Larry “Sonny” Brassfield woke up to find a pile of vomit his dog Benno had left in his house. This was not the first time Brassfield had seen something like this, mostly due to Benno’s penchant for eating inappropriate things (he has, Brassfield claims, eaten a TV remote, a lawn mower air filter, a bra, and several plastic bags, among other many other inedible objects). Many owners of the more than 83.3 million dogs in the United States have seen the same.
This time, though, Brassfield noticed something truly odd.
A couple of .308 caliber bullets were soaked in the vomit. Brassfield had been packing several hundred bullets last night but failed to reach the last 200-or-so rounds. He decided to leave the ammo in a bag, never entertaining the idea the Benno — a hefty Belgian Shepherd — would eat them.
“He’s never messed with ammo before,” Brassfield said. “I just left them in a bag by the bed.”
How wrong he was.
After seeing the vomit, Brassfield decided to wait and see if Benno had more bullets to, one could say, unload. Sure enough, Benno regurgitated three more rounds. It was then Brassfield decided to take him to the veterinarian.
Dr. Sarah Sexton of the All Creatures Animal Hospital took several x-rays of Benno and saw at least 15 rounds in his stomach — enough to load an AR-15 assault rifle.
“We said in school there’s what’s in the books and there’s what you see in the real world,” Sexton said. “This is something they certainly did not cover in school. I’ve had dogs eat things before, mostly stuffed toys.”
She added, “Once I had one swallow a hearing aid but I think this takes the cake.”
The rounds were made out of brass and copper, which fortunately are nontoxic to dogs. Lead and zinc, two other metals commonly used for bullets, are toxic. Sexton quickly prepared for surgery.
“There were lots of jokes being told during the surgery,” she recalled. “He could have gone up in smoke, could have gone out with a bang. Oh, there were lots of jokes.”
The two-hour procedure was a success. Sexton removed 16 live (albeit chewed-up) rounds and one shell casing from the dog’s stomach.
Post-surgery x-rays, however, showed that although Benno’s stomach was free of ammunition, his esophagus had two bullets still lodged in it. Not one to be trigger-happy about repeating surgery, Sexton decided not to perform again. Instead, she wanted Benno to naturally expel them out of his body.
Which, sure enough, he did eight days later.
“I won’t be leaving ammunition laying around anymore, I can tell you that,” Brassfield reflected. “But really, you’re never going to stop him. It’s just a question of what he’s going to eat next.”
Gun safety, apparently, has another species to contend with.