Disabled US Army veteran's service dog found shot in head, dumped near railroad tracks

A disabled Army veteran’s service dog was found this week shot in the head and dumped by railroad tracks in Boone County, Ky.

The dog, Gunner, had belonged to Bryan Vallandingham, a 14-year U.S. Army veteran in Richwood, Ky., who relied on the service animal for safety, Cincinnati's Fox 19 reported.

Gunner would alert Vallandingham’s family members whenever the disabled veteran was having a seizure.

“He would tell us by sitting in front of him by laying across him or just barking randomly at Bryan so he would notify us and give us time to get him in a safe situation so he wouldn’t hurt himself,” Vallandingham’s wife, Kimberly, told Fox 19.

The family said Bryan wasn’t doing well after learning of Gunner’s death, and has been having repeated seizures.

The family suspected Gunner had been stolen from their yard more than two weeks ago. One family member said they received text messages from a person who claimed to know where the dog was and demanded money, but the family refused.

Authorities are investigating if extortion is involved with Gunner’s disappearance and death.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.