PEMBROKE — A Pembroke police dog who was shot four times this weekend is home from hospital.
Payne went home Tuesday afternoon from Pembroke Veterinary Hospital, fittingly, with a police escort.
Payne was shot early Saturday morning when Officer Jason Hunt took him outside. Pembroke Police Chief Grant Florita said it appears Payne picked up a scent and ran toward Garden Street. Hunt then heard several gunshots before Payne came back limping, with flesh wounds on his left leg and ribs.
Florita said earlier this week it’s too soon to say when Payne will be back on duty. Hunt was uninjured, but shaken up by the incident, Florita said.
A GoFundMe fundraiser page has been set up to help pay for Payne’s recovery.
“Surgery was successful but due to the extensive injuries Payne will need to be fully rehabilitated. This precious Lab is so much more than a dog, he’s family. His home family, blueline family and community are in need of your help,” wrote Payne’s “K9 Mommy,” Alicia Hunt.
Pembroke’s K9 unit — and Payne’s role at the department — are fairly new. Pembroke officers held a plate sale and benefit run to raise money to get the K9 unit, which primarily deals with narcotics, started in the spring. The Lumbee Tribe also donated $5,000 to the effort to bring in Payne and his fellow K9 Officer Zues.
Pembroke police have identified the shooter, but no arrests have been announced.
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.