A Kansas hunter has been shot dead by his own dog after it accidentally stepped on the trigger of his rifle.
Joseph Smith, 30, was in the front passenger seat of his truck in Geuda Springs near the Oklahoma border, late Saturday while his dog was in the back with hunting gear, including a rifle.
“A canine belonging to the owner of the pick-up stepped on the rifle causing the weapon to discharge,” said the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.
“The fired round struck the passenger who died of his injuries on scene.”
Responding police deputies arrived within minutes of a 911 call and started CPR, but Mr Smith was pronounced dead, said authorities.
A GoFundMe was started on behalf of the family of Mr Smith, who worked as a plumber, in order to help with the funeral and memorial costs.
One friend defended Mr Smith from those mocking the circumstances surrounding the accident.
“To all the comedians and weapons experts here - this boy was my friend, having been best friends for over 20-plus years with his dad,” wrote Jimmy White from Wichita. “These comments are hateful.
“I know this family very well and cannot tell you how much their hearts hurt right now. Shame on you.”
Pictures on Mr Smith’s Facebook page showed him with a brown, mid-size dog, thought to be an American pit bull terrier.
Shootings by dogs
Shootings of owners by their pets are rare, but not unheard of.
In November, a 32-year-old man in Turkey was reportedly shot and killed by his own dog after the canine stepped on the trigger of a shotgun.
Ozgur Gevrekoglu was killed while out hunting with his friend in the Kizlan Plateau, in the Samsun Province of Turkey, the newspaper Turkiye reported.
In 2018, a New Mexico man was accidentally shot in the back by his dog while on a jackrabbit hunt.
Many people across the US have been injured or fatally shot by canines discharging firearms in recent years, intensifying calls for better gun control and safety measures.