A TINANA family is searching for answers after a cruel thug shot their small dog in the stomach - and police have joined the hunt.
Owner Rod Hamilton found his four-year-old pomeranian cross jack russell Camino bleeding from its stomach between 3pm and 4pm on March 29.
Wife Andrea was on a cruise when worried Rod phoned, thinking Camino had been attacked by a tick.
With advice from a vet nurse friend who was with Andrea, the couple decided Rod should take the dog to their vet at Tinana.
During the three-and-a-half-hours of emergency surgery, an air rifle pellet was discovered inside the animal, having gone through its right side.
"It had gone into her spleen and ruptured her bowel," said Andrea, who feared Camino wouldn't make it.
"She would kill you with love, she's an amazing little dog.
"She's as much our child as what our two girls are."
Rod said shooting a defenceless dog was a low-act and he was grateful to vet David for saving Camino's life.
"According to the vet, she had under an hour to live," Rod said.
"She was dying a painful death."
Thankfully Camino made a full recovery and her family, who paid $1800 in vet fees, are now desperate for answers.
"If she got out or was in the yard, we still haven't determined," Rod said.
"She's never bitten a person in anger.
"She's just the most placid, playful little creature."
Rod said he had been led to believe another dog had been shot.
"We want it stopped for the mere sake they shouldn't be shooting dogs for the sake of it," he said.
"Our kids could have been out there and hit by the shot."
If you can help police with their investigations, phone the Maryborough police station on 4123 8111.