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Man shot dead after dog steps on hunting rifle’s trigger

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(WELLINGTON, Kan.) — A dog has shot and killed a 30-year-old man in the front seat of a car after it stepped on a hunting rifle lying in the back seat, Kansas authorities said.

The victim, Joseph Smith, was in the front passenger seat at the time of the shooting, which unfolded while he and another man were on a hunting trip, according to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

“The stock of the gun was in the back seat, and the barrel was laying on the console facing the victim,” Sumner County Undersheriff Mike Westmoreland told ABC News via email.

At about 9:45 a.m. Saturday, the German shepherd stepped on the trigger from the back seat, and a bullet struck Smith in the back, according to the sheriff’s office and Wellington Fire and EMS Chief Timothy Hay.

Smith died at the scene, Hay told ABC News.

Westmoreland said the German shepherd belongs to the driver of the vehicle.

“You don’t want to leave a loaded weapon in your vehicle that’s out in the open,” Hay advised. “Unload it if it’s inside of the vehicle, or at least have the safety on.”

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