When Jim Hanley noticed early one morning last week that the front door of his Metairie home was ajar, he figured it meant two things: One of the kids forgot to turn the lock — the only way to keep the door closed — and Raider, the family’s 4-year-old mutt, had undoubtedly taken the opportunity to slip out and explore the neighborhood.
But nothing prepared him for what the family discovered half an hour later, after a quick search of the backyard and surrounding blocks turned up nothing.
“My wife opened the front door and there were puddles of blood everywhere,” Hanley recalled Tuesday.
After realizing the blood couldn’t have come from any of the children, Hanley made the connection. “I thought, ‘Oh God, something’s happened to Raider.’ ”
Hanley’s eyes scanned the front yard of the Henican Place home before spotting the dog, which lay huddled and bloodied in the bushes about 20 feet away.
“He had this look on his face of: ‘What happened?’ ”
Hanley scooped up the dog, jumped into his truck and headed for the animal clinic, where he said he assumed the dog had been hit by a car.
“What else was I supposed to think?” Hanley said. “His head was all bloody; he was bleeding from his mouth and his nose.”
The veterinarian came into the lobby about 20 minutes later and said, “Mr. Hanley, somebody shot your dog.”
“I mean, my jaw hit the floor,” Hanley said. “That was the furthest thing from my mind. Who shoots a family pet?”
The answer, at this point, appears to be Randall Schexnayder, of 3916 Cleveland Place, who was arrested Friday, two days after the shooting, by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and booked with aggravated cruelty to animals.
Schexnayder allegedly shot the dog twice, telling sheriff’s deputies that Raider had come into his yard and begun mating with his purebred female dog, according to JPSO spokesman Col. John Fortunato.
Hanley had called the Sheriff’s Office the day after the incident when he saw a pickup driving back and forth in front of his house, scanning his yard.
He took down the license plate number, but it wasn’t until later that day that he recalled an exchange he had last year with a man who lived four blocks away on Cleveland Place.
Hanley said Schexnayder had called about 10 months ago, saying he had Raider, who had gotten loose. Hanley said Schexnayder told him he’d better not catch Raider near his dog when she’s in heat.
Hanley said the exchange was a little unsettling, but he apologized and took the dog home. Life went on, the door went unfixed and Raider would periodically escape, only to be found or return shortly thereafter.
“It’s not like we want the dog out and about. It’s the family pet,” Hanley said, noting that Raider was rescued four years ago after he and his litter mates were found abandoned in Lafreniere Park.
Hanley, a sales representative in the restaurant business, said he knows he should have gotten the door fixed sooner, but nothing justified shooting his dog.
“I understand that (a strange dog mating with a prize female) would be upsetting, but it would never cross my mind to pull out a firearm,” he said. “I think my first move would have been calling animal control. I mean, my Lord.”
Hanley said Raider came home without his collar, which is now in evidence along with the two bullets and the gun Schexnayder allegedly used.
Hanley said he doesn’t know how the collar came to be removed, whether it was taken off before or after Raider was shot or whether he was left visibly alive after the shooting.
His children, he said, were especially troubled by the incident, and he is just hoping he doesn’t have to see Schexnayder again until the legal process plays out.
“I don’t want to see him,” he said. “I’m hoping he was told to stay away from us. He needs to stay away from my family.”
Raider is now home recovering, and Hanley said friends have set up an account with the online fundraising site Go Fund Me to help pay Raider’s bills, with any additional money going toward animal welfare agencies.
Schexnayder could not be reached for comment.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.