While a white Samoyed named Lilly underwent surgery to save her right eye, Winter Park residents picketed her shooter’s home on Kenwood Avenue. Among the protesters were UCF students who are rallying to raise money for her exorbitant vet bills and bring the man who shot her to justice.
On Friday night, George Alan Burdock and his wife Ioana Carabin were walking their two dogs when Lilly, 11, came running up to them. Burdock, 70, then pulled out a pistol and shot Lilly in the eye. The Winter Park Police Department did not file charges, ruling the action as self-defense.
UCF students Unique Michael and Jeanelle Perez turned out for the protest, where about 50 attendees brought signs reading “Paws up, don’t shoot” and their own furry friends. Perez, a sophomore biomedical sciences major, said she definitely thinks the incident was premeditated and hopes to give Lilly a voice.
In such a quiet neighborhood, why would you need a gun while walking your dog, she asked.
Witness and UCF alumnus Zachary Blair called the action “calculated,” and said the couple showed no remorse. All three described Lilly as a gentle, loving, harmless animal.
“The last thing you want to worry about [after an incident like this] is a vet bill,” Michael said. “This guy is still out there. He walks around Winter Park with a loaded gun.” The senior human communication major encourages concerned students to reach out to WPPD.
Lilly’s owner Ann Christensen claims she was about to put Lilly’s leash on, with her hands almost to her collar, when Burdock fired, according to the police report. She told deputies that Burdock, who was about 12 feet away said, “Get your dog.” After she replied, “That’s what I’m doing,” Burdock pulled out a pistol and shot the dog without hesitation. Christensen then said, “Oh my God, what did you do?” to which she said Burdock replied calmly, “I shot your dog.”
Burdock tells a different story.
The concealed-weapons permit carrier told deputies the “vicious” dog ran toward him and his wife and he shouted to the owner he would shoot it if she didn’t regain control, according to the report. When the owner did nothing and Lilly was about 6 feet away ready to jump, Burdock fired the gun. The couple then turned around and walked back to their house.
After questioning witnesses, officers determined the dog was “well out of arm’s reach” of Christensen when she was shot.
Burdock's wife, who served as a volunteer affiliated faculty member at the College of Medicine from 2009 to 2012, added that the dog “lunged at us with the intent to bite” and was not wearing a collar.
“This dog has attacked us in the past, and previous complaints have been placed with the city,” she said in a sworn written statement. “The dog never injured me or any family member but always charges us.”
Carabin said her husband intended to “scare the dog away.” Burdock, who called Animal Control concerning Lilly about a year ago, recently underwent back surgery and was carrying the gun for protection.
Michael said some residents are questioning Burdock’s level of narcotics at the time of the incident.
A GoFundMe account was created Friday by family friend Rory Morgan and surpassed its goal of $5,000 to pay Lilly’s vet bills in just two days. The remaining money will be donated to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic of Central Florida. A petition has also surfaced, calling for WPPD to formally charge Burdock with animal cruelty.
The pup came out of surgery Monday with her eye intact but questions surrounding whether she would ever be able to see out of it again.
Caroline Glenn is the Content Manager at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.