A former LSU football player lost his leg last month after a dog shot him while they were hunting, The Clarion Ledger reported. The accident took place in late December, near Eagle Lake in Mississippi.
Matt Branch, who played on LSU’s football team from 2009 to 2011, suffered the injury while on a hunting outing December 28, along with a group of friends who made the trip annually. According to the account provided by a friend of Branch’s, the dog was a Labrador retriever named Tito, a member of the hunting party.
The group of hunters were loading their weapons on the bed of a truck, when the dog walked over, stepped on the safety of Branch’s shotgun and pulled the trigger. The shot struck Branch through the bed of the truck.
Branch’s friends called 911 and he was taken to a medical facility and later to the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Branch underwent several surgeries, including the leg amputation, but the good news is that he is expected to recover.
Listed at 6’6″ and 287 pounds on LSU’s athletics department website, Branch was “rated among the best in the nation at his position” coming out of high school. Branch redshirted as a freshman, and played for LSU for three years as as reserve guard, although his career was cut short due to injury in 2011. Les Miles was LSU’s head coach for the entirety of Branch’s time with the team.
A GoFundMe was launched to assist Branch’s family, and it has raised more than $72,000 if its $75,000 goal. Some of Branch’s teammates have shared the GoFundMe campaign and encouraged LSU fans and others to donate:
Hey y’all, been a scary few days, one of my best friends in the world has been in a fight for his life. My former teammate Matt Branch was wounded in a hunting accident and needs your help! Anything and everything helps! https://t.co/8bu9LP9FbG
— T-Bob Hebert (@TBob53) January 1, 2019
News stories about people being shot by their dogs are less rare than one would think.
In 2014, a 46-year-old Wyoming man was shot after his dog stepped on his Winchester Magnum, and discharged it, Fox News reported at the time. The man was struck in the arm but recovered. The same thing happened to a 51-year-old Iowa man last spring, The Guardian said, also when his dog stepped on the trigger of a gun.
Last November, a 74-year-old man named Tex Harold Gilligan was shot by his 120-pound Rottweiler mix, Charlie, who stepped on the trigger, while Gilligan was on his way to a jackrabbit hunt in New Mexico, per ABC News.
Gilligan, who suffered three broken ribs, a punctured lung and a broken scapula, defended the dog afterward.
“[Charlie] did not mean to do it,” he said. “He’s a good dog.”