TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa Bay veteran adopted a dog from a local shelter after a veterinarian discovered a bullet in the dog's abdomen.
Bill Karuna adopted the 5-year-old Labrador Retriever mix this past weekend.
"I just wanted to be his second chance so he can find a forever home," said Karuna. "He's a very mellow dog, you know, and I just don't understand how somebody could do what they did."
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay said it has no details about the dog's past. The humane society received Sarge from a partner rescue in Hernando County. The rescue tells ABC Action News the dog came to them as a stray.
During an exam, a veterinarian found a large mass in the dog's abdomen and discovered a bullet.
"He definitely was shot because there was an entry wound. It was just covered with hair so by the time he came to the other rescue, they didn't know either. Again, the only way we found this was because we were doing X-rays on him and saw a big mass. Once we went in to explore, there was a bullet inside the mass," said Maria Matlack, Director of Marketing at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
Maria Matlack, Director of Marketing for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, said it is unclear how long the bullet has been lodged inside the dog's abdomen, but the dog does not have an infection.
"We are unsure of his background and where he came from so it's awful. We wish we knew because we would report this to animal services and press charges, completely awful and unacceptable," said Matlack.
Karuna said he wanted to adopt the dog because he can relate to him. They both suffered a gunshot wound.
"He and I share something that not a lot of people can sit back and say, 'hey, we share this. I know what it's like, I know how it feels and I know the situation you're in,'" said Karuna.
Karuna said he was shot in combat in 2011. He was discharged the following year after serving 22 years in the military.
Karuna said Sarge is adapting well to his new home.
"He's intelligent. He's just a love bug so I mean for an animal like that with a personality like that, his character. He deserves by far a second chance," said Karuna.