A tragic accident occurred on a hunting trip in Geuda Springs, Kansas, when a dog stepped on a loaded rifle, causing the weapon to discharge and fatally shooting a passenger in the car.
According to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Austin Smith, 30, of Wichita was sitting in the front passenger seat of a pickup truck when he was shot in the back by the dog. The authorities consider the shooting an accident and have closed the case.
The Washington Post said Sumner County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, “The back seat contained hunting gear and a rifle. A canine belonging to the owner of the pickup stepped on the rifle causing the weapon to discharge. The fired round struck the passenger who died of his injuries on scene.”
First responders were dispatched to the scene around 9:50am but didn’t disclose what happened to the dog after its owner died.
A GoFundMe page was created by a group of people identified as Smith’s colleagues at Browns Plumbing Services in Wichita has already raised over $18,000 for his memorial fund.
Jessica, a co-worker, wrote on the GoFundMe page, “Joseph Smith was a truly amazing man. He was kind, funny, smart, and very loving. Every time he walked through the door, he would make someone smile. Either from being a goofball or just his natural presence making everything better. It wasn’t hard to love Joe because he always made you feel like you were one of a kind and never left a conversation without letting you know he loved you. Joe is going to be dearly missed by so many. He was a great friend, employee, cousin, brother, son, and dog owner. We have loved and lost one of the best. Rest in Peace Joseph.”
This is not the first incident of a dog discharging a firearm and causing injury or death. In recent years, many people across the United States have been injured or killed by canines discharging firearms, leading to calls for better gun control and safety measures.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 500 people were killed unintentionally with guns in 2020. The pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 also saw a rise in firearm purchases, with an estimated 43 million guns purchased in that period.
In the past, dogs have accidentally discharged firearms in a variety of circumstances. In 2004, a shepherd-mix puppy in Florida discharged a gun, striking a man in the wrist. In 2015, a Labrador retriever named Trigger accidentally shot a woman in the foot in Indiana.
In 2018, a pit bull-Labrador named Balew accidentally shot his owner in Iowa. In 2018, a Rottweiler mix named Charlie caught a paw in the trigger of a gun while sitting in the back of his owner’s vehicle in New Mexico and shot him.
These incidents have occurred not just in the United States but also in other countries. In November, a 32-year-old Turkish man was shot dead by a dog during a hunting trip.