Luna the pit bull terrier has a brown spot between her ears, a marking that Maritza Galindo’s children say looks like the moon, and that led them to insist that she be named after it.
Her sons, ages 3, 7, and 8, have been asking about the family dog constantly since she disappeared Thursday afternoon. They don’t know she was shot in the head and is now hospitalized, awaiting surgery.
Her children “just know she’s hurt, that she got out” of the yard, said Galindo, 23, in a phone interview Saturday. “They don’t know what else happened.”
Luna was shot late Thursday afternoon after Galindo’s mother let out the two family dogs into the yard of their Marquette Park neighborhood home to relieve themselves, Galindo said. Within minutes, Luna got out — the family still isn’t sure how — and was missing. The family mobilized to look for her.
Galindo and her sister got into their cars and started driving around the neighborhood. While they were looking, Galindo got a call from a neighbor, who told her that Luna had been shot while she was following a group of kids.
“Everybody knows her in the neighborhood,” Galindo said. “Here in the neighborhood, kids next door will come to Luna and play with her because they know she is not bad … She’s a pit bull terrier and that’s the thing: People always think they’re bad dogs by looking at them. They think they’re dangerous, but it all depends on how you raise them.”
Officers nearby heard a gunshot just after 4:15 p.m. Thursday and went to the 6600 block of South Richmond Street, where they saw a dog with a gunshot wound, according to a police spokesman. In the 2800 block of West Marquette Road, they stopped a 15-year-old boy who had been seen running from the area.
The boy had a gun on him and told officers that he had shot the dog because he was afraid that it was going to hurt him, police said. He was taken into custody and charged as a juvenile with five felonies — aggravated use of a weapon without a state firearms identification card, theft, criminal damage of a domestic animal, aggravated cruelty to animals and reckless discharge of a firearm.
When Galindo and her sister got to the scene, Luna had already been taken away by Chicago Animal Care and Control officers, who later released Luna to Galindo, she said. Galindo rushed the dog to an animal hospital, where she was told after X-rays that a bullet was lodged between the dog’s eyes and that it would require a very delicate surgery to remove. The staff gave Galindo some pain medication for Luna and sent them home.
But Luna’s condition worsened. She was vomiting blood, her nose kept bleeding and she couldn’t eat, much less take the pain medication. The animal hospital estimated the surgery Luna needed would cost between $1,500 and $8,000 depending on what needed to be done, but Galindo didn’t have the money for it.
“I was just thinking that she is going to die and she is…