Man Fatally Shot by Dog


Hunting rifle with bullets on old wooden background | Image by Stsvirkun, Shutterstock

A Kansas man died on Saturday morning when he was shot by his dog on the way to a hunting trip.

Joseph Austin Smith, a 30-year-old Wichita resident, was going on a hunting trip when he was fatally shot in his car. His dog accidentally discharged the gun while it sat loaded in the back seat of Smith’s pickup truck.

The incident occurred on 80th Street South and River Road, north of Geuda Springs.

Smith was sitting in the front passenger seat when the dog stepped on the rifle in the back of the truck. The bullet struck Smith in the front seat, killing him.

“Responding units arrived within minutes of the 911 call and started CPR,” according to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office stated that Smith had already died from the gunshot at the scene when its personnel arrived.

“You don’t want to leave a loaded weapon in your vehicle that’s out in the open,” Wellington Fire and EMS Chief Timothy Hay suggested. “Unload it if it’s inside of the vehicle, or at least have the safety on.”

The sheriff’s office has ruled the shooting an accident and has closed the case.

Smith worked at Browns Plumbing Services in Wichita, Kansas. Chris Brown, the owner, created a GoFundMe page to aid Smith’s family with funeral costs. Over $19,000 has been raised thus far towards the goal of $20,000.

The page says:

“Joseph Smith was a truly amazing man. He was kind, funny, smart, and very loving. Every time he walked through the door, he would make someone smile. Either from being a goofball or just his natural presence making everything better. It wasn’t hard to love Joe because he always made you feel like you were one of a kind and never left a conversation without letting you know he loved you. Joe is going to be dearly missed by so many.”

In 2020, a similar incident occurred when a man in Texas was shot by his dog after the dog’s paw became stuck in the trigger of a gun. The man had a pistol stuck inside his waistband and then went to pick up his dog. The dog’s paw got lodged in the trigger and shot the man in the thigh. Luckily, none of his injuries were life-threatening.

Two years earlier, in 2018, a man in New Mexico who was also on a hunting trip was shot accidentally by his dog. Tex Harold Gilligan was 74 at the time and suffered serious injuries:  three broken ribs, an injured lung, and a broken collarbone. His Rottweiler, Charlie, got his foot caught in the trigger of Tex’s gun, causing it to go off. Despite the pain the dog inadvertently caused him, Tex forgave him, telling ABC, “He didn’t mean to do it. He’s a good dog.”

The U.S. has already seen 101 unintentional shootings in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

There were over 1,600 reported unintentional shootings in the U.S. in 2022.

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1 month ago

Proof once again we don’t need gun laws – we do need laws prohibiting stupid.

Patrick Spinks
Patrick Spinks
1 month ago

Personally, I think the dog was framed!!

1 month ago

“The U.S. has already seen 101 unintentional shootings in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive

Really? What has this to do with this story? Stop the nonsense and anti-gun rhetoric. The issue with these stories is gun safety, not anything else and thankfully those involved were the only ones harmed.

1 month ago

The dog wanted steak & got kibble. One day he snapped.