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Residents furious over killed dog


SANTA ROSA BEACH - The fatal shooting of a dog by a Walton County Deputy has stirred some strong emotions, and sparked heated debates on social media. One fact is not in dispute. An eleven month old dog, a pit bull named Ford, was shot on East Mack Bayou road, about three feet outside his owner's driveway.

"It's been pretty rough. It's pretty mind-blowing the Sheriff's Department has done what they've done, said what they've said," dog owner Jonathan Aldrich.

"It's a horrible situation. We don't get up thinking we're going to shoot at somebody's animal, especially a 5-year-old's pet." said Catherine Rodriguez of WCSO.

Sheriff's Office spokesperson Catherine Rodriguez says on March 11, a deputy was called to the house next door, by a woman who said she was afraid to get out of her car because the dog ran up and started acting aggressive.

The Sheriff's Office says while the deputy was investigating, the dog charged him, forcing him to fire the fatal shot in self defense. Rodriguez says a camera on his sunglasses recorded the incident.

"He turned, and the next thing you see is this pit bull running straight at him, growling and he just got so close to the deputy he was no longer in sight of the eye cam. At that point you hear a pop," Rodriguez said.

"He could have tased him, could have maced him, hit him with an asp," Aldrich said.    

Jonathan Aldrich says he asked the deputy if the dog attacked him, and the deputy said no.

"It's been more of a cover-up situation, trying to make the deputy look like he was in the right, and in no sense or fashion was he in the right to shoot the dog," Aldrich said.

County documents show two previous complaints about Ford. In one case it's alleged another dog was grabbed by the scruff of the neck, in another case a child was scratched.

"In Walton County there is a leash law, and simply put, the owner of the pit bull was negligent," Rodriguez.

A Sheriff's Office spokesperson says that video, from the camera on the deputy's glasses, should be released sometime next week.