Twenty days after the shooting that claimed dozens of lives at Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas — and hit Melinda Brockie, Lona’s cousin, in the face with a stray bullet — the Johnsons purchased a “labradoodle” therapy dog named Jax to address the lingering fears of their trauma. “Even to this day when I’m walking in a city, I tend to look up,” Joe said. “When I’d have anxiety and panic attacks, he’d calm me down.”
On September 2, Joe found their one-year-old dog shot dead in their driveway. He immediately confronted his neighbor across the street. “If it was your dog chasing my chickens,” the 49-year-old man responded, “then yes, I shot your dog.”
The Johnsons are devastated. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s office cited the neighbor for recklessly aiming and discharging a firearm and for shooting towards the street, but a fine is small comfort to the survivors who have lost a beloved companion and source of comfort.
Chief Criminal Deputy Doug Chadwick told KOMO News he maintains that no other crime has been committed because it is legal to shoot an animal that is threatening one’s property. However, no chickens are believed to have been harmed.
Joe Johnson cannot help but draw a parallel between this situation, and the one they survived in Las Vegas. The event has only served to reinforce fears they are struggling to leave behind. “Not so different, both preventable. Yeah, I do feel threatened. I do feel scared in my own home,” he said.