Mark Gilligan, 74, was accidentally shot by his 120-pound rottweiler mix named Charlie. The Dona Ana county resident told Sun news that on October 25th, he went to hunt jackrabbits with his three dogs, Charlie, Scooter and Cowboy. Gilligan said he and his dogs were parked in his pickup truck when he was shot.
“Charlie got his foot in the trigger of the gun and I leaned forward and he slipped off the seat and caught the trigger — and it shot,” Gilligan said. “It was a freak accident but it’s true, that’s what happened.”
Charlie managed to shoot the shotgun which propelled the bullet through Gilligan’s front driver’s seat. The bullet penetrated Gilligan’s back, breaking multiple ribs and shattering his collarbone among other injuries.
“I was very fortunate I could get to my phone,” Gilligan said. “The DASO (Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office) first-responders saved my life. If they waited 10 more minutes I would’ve died. I lost so much blood. I know I actually passed to the other side just before getting to the hospital but they were able to revive me through CPR and bring me back. I have so much appreciation to the doctors and first-responders who saved my life.”
Gilligan underwent multiple surgeries and although he’s in critical condition, he’s expected to make a full recovery. He is being transferred to a rehabilitation center in Las Cruces this Wednesday.
Gilligan told news reporters that Charlie, Scooter and Cowboy had been taken to the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley after the shooting.
“Poor Charlie, he’s a good dog,” Gilligan said. “The sheriff’s department said the only one they had trouble with was Cowboy. The other two were friendly. Charlie is the boss, but he’s gentle.”
Gilligan said jokingly that his son was able to “bond out” the dogs.
“It was an accident, although they tease me asking me if he did it on purpose,” Gilligan said. “Truth is, (Charlie’s) a big, loving dog and would never hurt anybody on purpose.”
Gilligan’s son, Mark, said he wasn’t shocked when he heard that one of the dogs shot his father.
“They’re kind of rowdy. They’re pretty rambunctious and full of energy,” Mark said. “That’s why the owners gave them up. My dad has four acres of land so they can run free. So, it didn’t surprise me at all. When they see a cow or other animal they want to jump in the front.”
Despite the incident, Gilligan maintains that he loves his dog Charlie, which he even rescued as a puppy.
“They’re all rescue dogs. Charlie was advertised as a free puppy in El Paso,” Gilligan said. “I got one of them at a flea market for $20 and adopted one.”
Mark claims that his father treats his dogs like family, often spoiling them as if they were his children. Even while in critical condition, Mark said his dad’s main concern was to retrieve his dogs from “doggy jail” (The Animal Service Centre).
“Charlie’s still a good dog,” Gilligan said.