Service dog to local teen shot and killed

The Westmoreland family suffered a major loss this week after finding their service dog dead in the front yard of their Quinlan home.

The death was caused by a gunshot wound, killing their dog known in the community as Journey.

Journey served as a service dog to Hannah Westmoreland, a 15-year-old girl who suffers from diabetes. Journey, her Golden Retriever, would go wherever she would go whether it was school, church or anywhere within the community.

“We’ve had him for three years and we were going on four years,” said Hannah’s mother Tina Westmoreland. “We are … my kids are just heartbroken and devastated. We are just … I don’t know what other words to say except broken.”

The family contacted the police immediately after finding her. The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the matter. According to a Press Release from the Sheriff’s Office, “Investigators with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office have partnered with Constable Terry Jones’ office for this investigation.  Constable Terry Jones typically handles animal cruelty investigations in Hunt County and has a Deputy Constable assigned to his office from the S.P.C.A. of Texas. Any updates on this investigation will be released at a later time as the investigation proceeds.”

In an effort to deal with the veterinarian bills, a reward to find the person or persons who killed Journey and the possibility of getting another service dog in the future, the family started a Go Fund Me page and a Facebook Page titled “Justice4Journey.”

“My cousin has started a fundraiser to help with vet bills and to help possibly with the reward to find out who did it … too soon to decide if she will get another dog or not. But, I don’t know what will happen with any of that. I would just love to find out who did it,” said Tina. 

Tina’s daughter, Hannah, has had Journey with her since Middle School and people throughout the community have consistently noticed Journey hanging out with her to make sure she’s good and well.

“Journey was specialized for her diabetes, trained to alert her before the blood sugar dropped too low or too high. Most importantly, Journey’s job was to let her know if her sugar is too low.  We used Journey especially at night if her blood sugar went too low. In the training, we had to provide saliva samples and things like that to train Journey on senses and smells so her job was to let Hannah know,” said Tina. “He was in Hannah’s Middle school yearbook. He got a picture in the yearbook. Hannah was the mascot the year before and Journey was at ball games and we have pictures of Journey loving the mascot. He went to church camp with us. He was at youth group. He was on the Sunday school attendance. He was everywhere.”

People desiring to help the family include a Facebook page titled "Justice4Journey" and a GoFundMe page to help raise money to take care of the vet costs and provide a potential award to find the person who killed Journey.