Couple take out mortgage to pay for shot dog's $15k vet bill
A BUNDABERG region couple took out a mortgage on their home to afford the $15,000 vet bill to save their dog after it was shot.
The much-loved red Kelpie, Zuma, is now finally going home after months of rehabilitation at a Bundaberg vet.
The now 15-month-old dog spent five months at the vets after he was shot on December 27.
His owners Dieter and Margot Moeckel said they were relieved to finally be able to take their "baby" home.
The red kelpie needed seven operations to rebuild his shoulder, the operations also included skin grafts and inserting a plate.
"We have missed him so much," Mr Moeckel said.
"We took out a mortgage on our house to raise the vet costs, but donors on Facebook (organised by our daughter) gave us $500 and our son gave us $1000.
"The plate may have to come out in six months' time.
"He is still limp on his leg when he steps but, we are so relieved he is still here with us."
At the time when Zuma was shot the owners feared retaliation from whoever shot the dog because it was reported to police.
Gin Gin Acting Sergeant Paul Jackson told the NewsMail the incident had been investigated and no action would be taken.
Act Sgt Jackson said the dog was shot by a 25-year-old man who was protecting his mother.
"She was near the dam near her house when the dog pinned her two smaller dogs down," Act Sgt Jackson said at the time.
"(The dog) became aggressive towards the woman," he said.
"The son fired a warning shot which did not deter the dog and a second shot was fired and it hit the dog.
"He shot the dog to protect his mum."
Mr and Mrs Moeckel said spending thousands of dollars on Zuma was worth it as they would do anything to keep him alive.
"We love him so much there was no other option," Mrs Moeckel said.
He was now returning to his Wonbah home and would be secured on his property.
Last year it was reported Australians were spending $12 billion a year on food, grooming, vets and insurance for their animals, making the pet care industry one of the major growth hot spots of the country's business sector.
In the report there was an estimated eight million pet owners, primarily of cats and dogs.