Dog shot twice, hit by car now recovering after surgery

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – A Hernando County, Florida dog that was shot twice and hit by a car is recovering Friday.

Niko, a Catahoula Leopard dog, underwent a four-hour surgery at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa. A fracture in his vertebrae was repaired.

“It was a long procedure,” said surgeon Nicole Salas.  “It took four hours.  Everything came together smoothly.”

Niko hadn’t been able to walk since the November incident.

Officials said the driver simply took off. He was examined at a local clinic and that’s when the two bullets were discovered: one in his chest; the other in his abdomen.

“Those are going to remain,” Salas said.  “We don’t want to cause more harm trying to remove them.”

Pins and other devices were put into the dog’s backside for the time being. He’s expected to make a full recovery, which could take several months.

After he recuperates, he’ll be put up for adoption, a spokeswoman for BluePearl said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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