MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - A Merritt Island family is looking for answers Monday after they say a Brevard County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed their family dog.
The sheriff's office says they responded to the neighborhood after someone called 911 reporting a toddler was left unattended and wandering around near the street, but the family says the mother was in the car port and knew where the 2-year-old was the entire time.
"There is no reason why he should've done that. What he should've done is talk to the person in the car port that was 15 feet away. It was totally uncalled for," said neighbor Josh Petelle.
According to the sheriff's office, the dog was acting aggressive when the deputy approached the young boy, but family members say Brownie, a 5-year-old female pit bull, has always been protective of all 5 kids, especially the youngest, who witnesses say was just feet from where the deputy fired his shots.
When the deputy arrived, witnesses said the deputy walked up to the home with his gun drawn and fired two shots at Brownie, feet from where they 2-year-old boy was sitting in his stroller.
"The dog's first thought is hey you're walking up to me with a gun and the dog growls. The dog didn't lunge at him, the dog didn't do anything. The dog just growled and then he put two bullets in him," said family member Robert Gringas.
The family says they're relieved the toddler wasn't injured, but are left wondering why the deputy felt he needed to pull the trigger, killing their family pet.
"It's very sad because we had her for so long," said 12-year-old Jordan.
The 2-year-old was not injured and the family says they will be filing a complaint with the sheriff's office.
The deputy finished his shift and won't be put on administrative leave, according to BCSO.
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