Filed Under:  Health & Wellness

Army Veteran Wants Military Burial for Dog Shot by Cyclist

Contributed by on October 20, 2015 at 5:16 am

A bomb-sniffing dog who served two tours in Iraq - earning two Bronze Stars along the way - was fatally shot by a cyclist who says he felt threatened by the 52-pound Belgian Malinois.

The 59-year-old bicyclist told the Park County Sheriff’s office that he was attacked by a “German shepherd-looking dog” on the road.

For now, Bessler is collecting money to give Mike a burial with military honors.

Last Saturday when Mike was shot, a bicyclist claimed the dog had been part of a pack that approached him, making him feel “threatened”.

The dogs owner, Matthew Bessler, 43, is a retired Army Ranger who served in six tours in Iraq, with Mike as his partner for two.

Mike earned himself two Bronze Stars while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

They both returned home in 2010 with PTSD.

Now Bessler is questioning the official story that a passing cyclist killed Mike when the dog tried to attack him, the Powell Tribune reports.

Bessler told the Billings Gazette that Mike had helped calm his frequent anxiety, one of several afflictions that has hampered him after several tours in Iraq.

“I raised him and trained him as a puppy, and the ability he has to sense a few of the issues that I have with seizures, with my PTSD, my TBI [traumatic brain injury] and severe anxiety disorders”, Bessler told the Billings Gazette. In a July interview with the Washington Post, Bessler spoke of the many ways Mike had saved his life. When he returned late that night, his roommate broke the news to him that the unthinkable had occurred: At 9 years of age, Mike was shot and killed by a bicyclist less than 10 feet away. “He can… help me calm down or relax me”. Why, he wants to know, does a cyclist have a gun mounted on his bike? He later found Mike limping with gunshot wounds to his hind end.

“If the guy was actually fending the dogs off with a bicycle, [Mike] would have really been barking, and there was no barking”, he said. “It was just a gunshot”. ” I see him everywhere that I go”.

‘Because he was, he was with me nearly everywhere I went and he was always playing and he was always… he always wanted to play and everybody loved him. Everybody could pet him.

Decorated combat dog killed after allegedly attacking cyclist