A dog shot during a home robbery in Wadesboro Oct. 27 is still in recovery.
Mathew Kellum, 25, was at work when someone broke into his house on Ansonville-Polkton Road, stealing electronics and collectibles and shooting his pit bull.
Authorities were alerted after Joey Sears said he found blood when he went to Kellum’s house, according to the incident report.
Kellum said both men had worked the night shift and were planning to play games and watch TV before Sears discovered the robbery.
Sears stayed outside and called 911. Anson County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Martin searched the house but found no one, though he did find a blood trail going to the living room. Sears told Martin that there was a dog there, but that it didn’t respond when he called for it. Martin found a dog kennel with a trail of blood, but no dog.
Martin reported that Sears called Kellum, who arrived after the phone call. After a search, Kellum and Sears found the pit bull under the back porch and that Kellum reported that it had “been shot or cut and was bleeding bad.” The dog was then taken to an animal hospital.
Kellum also reported that a 47-inch flat screen TV, PlayStation 4, framed $2 bills and knife collection were missing, according to the report. He estimated that there was $200 worth of damage to his door and door frame, and that the doors and windows had all been locked when he left.
“Upon further investigation, detectives were able to collect pellets that appeared to have been fired from a shotgun up under the dog kennel,” the report said. “Detectives advised that they also noticed what appeared to be a power cord to a television laying in the ditch.”
Two knives and a switch blade were also found on or near the property, though the report did not specify whether any were Kellum’s missing ones. Kellum identified them as his on the phone. His stolen collection included about 50 knives he had collected over the years, he said.
The pit bull, Diablo Gabriel, is still recovering at the veterinarian’s office after he ripped his stitches open.
“I just called today and they’re saying they’re keeping an eye on him,” Kellum said. “He ripped them back open, and they have to make sure it doesn’t get infected. You can imagine what a 12-gauge shotgun can do to a dog’s chest.”
He said Diablo is doing well considering the circumstances.
“He’s doing better than most people think,” Kellum said. “He’s a survivor, like his owner.”
The dog’s name represents evil and good, addressing common perceptions about pit bulls.
“It’s mostly because how he was born a full-blooded pit bull,” Kellum said. “Most people think down on pit bulls, but he’s the sweetest… he’s always happy and wagging his tail.”
Kellum said the dog was in bad shape but awake when he and Sears, one of Kellum’s best friends from high school, found him under the back porch.
“He was conscious,” Kellum said. “From what the detective said, it happened between 12 (midnight) and 2 in the morning, so he was in the backyard almost six or seven hours waiting for me to get home. When I walked up, he growled at me. Then I said, ‘Hey, buddy,’ and he tried to get up. I told him not to move and just started rubbing his head.”
Diablo was then taken to Brown Creek Animal Hospital.
Kellum said Sears initially called to tell him about the break-in and had only leaned in the front door of the house, noting that the door was broken down, there was a trail of blood and that the television was gone, but waited to go inside.
In addition to the items listed on the report, Kellum said he is missing an acoustic guitar, a charger for his new phone, DVDs and all of his Playstation games.
He is also missing his basic law enforcement training boots.
Kellum is currently training to become a police officer and hopes to work in Anson or a nearby county.
“They destroyed the house, really,” he said of the robbers. “I’m still cleaning up. Every single room was went through. All of the dresser drawers were open. Everything set up in the closet was thrown in the floor. It’s all just destroyed.
“I don’t know any words to describe it,” he continued. “But it kind of makes you not feel as safe as you thought you really were. It’s kind of cheesy, but you don’t feel like something like this would happen to you. But knowing that it’s so easy for someone to bust through a door with just a couple of kicks makes you second-guess having security and cameras to live somewhere to feel safe.”
Still, Kellum felt lucky. There have been similar robberies in Stanly County. Two dogs were fatally shot on Oct. 24 in Norwood during a robbery, and there have been several other robberies in that area over the last several weeks, according to WSOC-TV.
“They told me they definitely believe its related and they shot every other dog,” Kellum said. “Mine’s the only one that’s survived so far.”
He trusts the police to do a good investigation.
“I have faith in them to do their job to best of their ability, but pray every day nobody else gets hit like that or animals get killed or nobody else has to go through what I did,” he said. “I’m always hopeful. I have faith in everything.”
Kellum’s other two animals, including an 8-year-old cat, were uninjured. Diablo is 2.
“Really, that was only thing I cared about,” he said. ” I didn’t care what they stole. I’d rather they steal every single thing in my house than mess with my animals. I’m 25 and don’t have kids. My animals are my kids until I have a kid.”
Kellum said he is eager to bring his four-legged friend home.
“I miss him, and I can’t wait for him to get home,” he said. “When I become a cop in the next couple months, I’m going to try not to let this happen to anybody else.”
An email sent to the sheriff’s office Friday afternoon asking about information on suspects was not returned by press deadline.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.