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. Every veterinary office they called required a large up-front deposit in order to see her, which was out of the question at the time. Finally, after a few hours, they found a veterinarian who could help. The group drove the dog to Savannah, Missouri 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 (named after a Viking warrior maiden).

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 (AJLA’s founding family), met and fell in love with her- and actually discovered that Laggie was a senior dog, probably at least 12 years old!


Although she wasn’t aware of it, Laggie came to serve an important role as the face of change. Animal Justice League of America (AJLA) was founded because of her! Her loving family now works tirelessly through AJLA to get justice for Laggie and all dogs like her.

On a broader scale, they hope Laggie’s story and case will bring light to other cases involving dog abuse, adding momentum to strengthen and clarify animal abuse laws, which is sorely needed to ensure that animal abusers are held accountable for their choices and actions.

Laggie lived on for over a year in her loving home, where her family did everything to help her take small steps toward her recovery. With a mellow and sweet personality, she made good neurologic recovery but had lasting nerve damage due to one bullet that hit the right side of her head- which made simple tasks like sitting or walking (hobbling) difficult. But she never let that slow her down! She enjoyed playing with her favorite toys, eating biscuits and gravy (her absolute favorite meal!), and being pulled around on the “Laggie mobile.”

Laggie passed away peacefully surrounded by those who loved her the most after letting her mom know that her time had come and her body was ready to move on. She made her journey to the Rainbow Bridge on July 27, 2019 and is greatly missed by MANY people who knew and loved her.

Laggie’s legacy lives on and AJLA continues to pursue justice for her, and court proceedings are ongoing with both criminal and civil penalties being sought by a top-notch legal team.

We will continue to update her story as it progresses.