Lagertha (Laggie’s) Story

(Warning: The following story contains graphic content.)

In April 2018, four people were out searching for mushrooms in St. Joseph, Missouri, when they heard two gunshots. They headed for the sounds, spending 15 minutes searching the area, when they came across a white pit bull with two gunshots to the back of her head. Miraculously, she was still alive.

The three rescuers wrapped shirts and rags around the dazed animal’s head to stem the flow of blood, and sought help. But every vet they called wouldn’t take the dog without at least $1,000 upfront. Finally, after a few hours, they found someone who could help. The group drove the dog to Savannah, where Angels Vet Express helped stabilize her.

The dog was then transferred to Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Kansas City, where she spent 10 days being treated, and was given a name – Lagertha, Laggie for short. Initial evaluations revealed a fractured skull, a fractured jaw, and some missing teeth, in addition to extensive surface wounds. Every day spent in the hospital meant more costs adding up – between $800 and $1,200 a day. Unleashed Pet Rescue in Kansas City led fundraising efforts to cover medical expenses.

Following treatment, Laggie was transferred to Unleashed Pet Rescue, where a foster family, who happened to be the Rudmans, met and fell in love with her.

How Laggie Is Doing Today

Although she may not be aware of it, Laggie has come to serve an important role as the face of change.  Animal Justice League of America (AJLA) was founded because of her! Her new family, the Rudmans, now works tirelessly through AJLA to get justice for Laggie, and all dogs like her.

Along with Laggie’s legal representation, her family and an entire team of advocates are working closely with law enforcement to bring Laggie’s abuser to justice. They plan to go after the felony charge of aggravated animal abuse. (As of now, it is only a Class A Misdemeanor to abuse animals in the state of Missouri). Laggie’s family will also be filing a $30,000 civil lawsuit against the people who shot Laggie, to recoup the medical costs it took to get her back on her feet.

On a broader scale, they hope Laggie’s story and case will bring light to other cases involving dog abuse, adding momentum to change animal abuse laws, including implementing an online animal cruelty registry where offenders would be listed for all to see. Incidents of animal abuse aren’t isolated – during the week Laggie was found, four other dead or badly injured dogs were found around the Buchanan County area – including a boxer shot in the head and two pit bull crosses that appear to have been beaten to death – causing pet owners nationwide to rally for justice.

Today, Laggie is in a loving home, where her new family is doing everything they can to help her take small steps toward ongoing rehabilitation. They describe her as mellow and sweet. She has made good neurologic recovery but still has nerve damage due to one bullet that hit the right side of her head, which makes simple tasks like sitting or walking (hobbling) difficult. But she doesn’t let that slow her down! She enjoys playing with her favorite toys and being pulled around on the “Laggie mobile.”

Oh, and in case you’re wondering where that name came from – Lagertha was a Viking warrior maiden who, according to legend, fought with the courage of a man and performed matchless deeds. That’s our Lagertha – She’s a warrior!

We will continue to update this page as her story progresses.