Puppy Who Shot Man a Hot Property

Being known as the pup that shot his owner hasn't scared people away from Trigger, who needs a new home.

Close to two dozen local families have expressed interest in adopting Trigger, the 3-month-old shepherd mix that police say got his paw on the trigger of the revolver his owner had used to kill three of his siblings and shot the man in the wrist, saving himself and three of his litter mates.

"It was awful, I couldn't believe that someone would actually do that," said Rachel Cunningham, a local woman who came to the Escambia County Animal Shelter to ask about the puppies.

People have been calling from all across the country expressing interest in adopting Trigger and his three surviving siblings, said Bruce Rova, director of the shelter.

"It's been very heartwarming to see the outpouring of support for these pups," he said. "They asked if we know which one did it and I said I've got an indication, I've started calling him Trigger."

Rova said the shelter has taken hundreds of calls and received dozens of e-mails from people who wanted to adopt the puppies, but he said due to the local interest the puppies will likely find homes around the county.

Owner Facing Charges

While the four puppies are in their shelter, their former owner is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the wrist and facing felony animal cruelty charges.

Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, of Pensacola, had decided to kill seven puppies he had because he could not get rid of them any other way, Escambia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Ted Roy said.

Bradford allegedly shot and killed three of the puppies, but when he tried to finish off the rest, the pup who's come to be known as Trigger got in the way.

The man told authorities he was holding Trigger in his left hand and another pup in his right hand, but he couldn't control them, Roy said.

When Trigger began to wriggle free, he put his paw on the gun's trigger, causing it to fire and the bullet hit the man in the wrist, Roy said.

A doctor at the emergency room where Bradford went for treatment called authorities about the gunshot wound, the sheriff's department said.

The three puppies Bradford allegedly shot were found in a shallow grave with bullet wounds in their heads, Roy said.

The remaining four puppies and their mother were taken to the animal shelter, and Rova said they are all doing well..

Pups’ Mother in Limbo

These animals hadn't been neglected to the point where they needed medical attention or were afraid of people, Rova said.

The mother is not up for adoption because Bradford's wife refused to sign over ownership of her to the county shelter, he said.

"The mother is in legal limbo," Rova said. "She will be part of the trial, and the judge will make a decision about whether she should go back to the family or not."

The puppies' celebrity has been a boon to their lesser-known neighbors, the director said.

"People come in asking about them [Trigger and his siblings]," Rova said. We have other dogs available for adoption and they have been taking a look at them."

Rova said there is no reason for anybody in Escambia County to think about doing away with an unwanted animal, because the shelter will take any animal with no questions and free of charge if a person brings it in.

And the shelter director said the story is a reminder of the importance of spaying and neutering dogs and cats.

"They would never have been in this situation if they had the mother spayed," he said.

ABC News affiliate WEAR-TV in Pensacola, Fla., contributed to this report.

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