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Woman, dog shot while walking near Mt. Gretna

September 2, 2011

By Myles Snyder, ABC27.com

MT. GRETNA, Pa. (WHTM) - Police are looking for the person who shot a woman and her dog was they were walking in state game lands in Lebanon County Friday morning.

Cornwall police said 66-year-old Martha Gebhard was hit in the leg by three shotgun pellets; two to the stomach and one to the left thigh. Her dog was hit by 15 pellets and had injuries to an eye.

"She heard a gunshot, the dog started to yelp, she looked down, and realized at that point that she had been hit by pellets," Cornwall police Chief Bruce Harris said.

Gebhard had been walking near the state game lands off of Pinch Road when the shooting occurred at around 10 a.m.

Gebhard, who is from Baltimore and has a summer home in Mt. Gretna, was unable to use her cell phone to call for help. She drove home, but her house phone wasn't working, so she went to the Mt. Gretna Borough office for help.

"She was in a panic and she wanted help, so I called 911 and the ambulance came and the police came," borough secretary Linda Bell said.

Police and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are investigating whether the shooting was intentional or accidental.

"We'll see if there are any areas we can see where the shot penetrated vegetation or anything like that, if there are any shells laying around, like a shotgun shell in this case," Wildlife Conservation Officer Derek Daly said.

Police are not ready to call the incident a hunting accident. They are looking for the driver of a white pickup truck with a burgundy cab and panels. The truck was seen parked at the gates of the game lands in the morning.

"I don't know that anything would have been open that a person would have been hunting in this area for," Harris said. "It could have been a deliberate shot. We don't know that, either."

Authorities said they believe the shotgun blast was fired from about 70 yards away. They said it's hard to believe the shooter did not know they struck someone.

Gebhard was released from Penn State Hershey Medical Center in the afternoon. Her nine-year-old English Springer Spaniel will survive, but will lose an eye.

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