ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix man accused of shooting neighborhood dog with a child nearby

Nov 22, 2023, 12:29 PM

Mugshot of Matthew Patrick Wazny, who is accused of shooting a dog in his Phoenix neighborhood on S...

Matthew Patrick Wazny is accused of shooting a dog in his Phoenix neighborhood on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man was arrested Sunday after he allegedly shot a neighborhood dog while a child was playing with the pet, authorities said.

Matthew Patrick Wazny, 45, was booked on counts of animal cruelty, discharging a firearm within city limits and endangerment, according to court records.

The husky named Falco survived being shot in the nose and is recovering. The owner started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover medical expenses.

Where in Phoenix did man allegedly shoot dog?

The incident occurred in a neighborhood near 16th Street and Thomas Road.

Officers responding to a call about a dog getting shot located Wazny, who matched the suspect’s description, in a nearby yard, according to the probable cause statement for his arrest.

Wazny had a handgun in his pocket that matched the caliber of the weapon used to shoot the dog, according to the arresting officer’s report. The suspect was described as “noticeably intoxicated” and “unwilling to cooperate” with investigators.

What led up to the animal cruelty incident in Phoenix?

It’s not clear what prompted the shooting. Wazny was bleeding from a finger when he was located. According to court records, the wound was from a dog bite, but from a different animal, not Falco.

Falco was inside a yard behind a locked gate, playing with a 12-year-old child, when he was shot.

“The child was approximately 10 to 15 yards from the dog, but the potential trajectory of the bullet could have struck the child,” the probable cause statement says.

Arizona Humane Society statistics show rise in animal cruelty cases

The Arizona Humane Society has seen a significant rise in animal cruelty cases in recent years.

According to statistics released last week, the Valley rescue organization has logged nearly 8,800 investigations and over 13,600 calls for service in 2023.

The number of service calls has increased by about 50% since 2021, while investigations have gone up by more than 40% in the last two years, according to year-to-date statistics from AHS.

Over the last fiscal year, animal intakes went up by 36%, while calls for service rose by 22% and investigations by 21%.

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Phoenix man accused of shooting neighborhood dog with a child nearby