PARK COUNTY, Colo. -- A family in Park County southwest of Denver is looking for answers after an off-duty sheriff's deputy shot and killed their dog.
They accuse the deputy, who lives nearby, of killing their pet and then hiding the dog's body.
Many people in the neighborhood say they're upset about what happened.
"She was in pain, I mean she's old and we weren't ready to put her down yet," says Laura Brown. She and her family are forced to deal with the death of their 16-year-old family pet, Shiva.
The dog was shot over the weekend.
The German Shepherd was at home near Bailey Saturday while Brown and her family were at a wedding in Denver.
When they returned home, Shiva had apparently left from the back yard. When they started calling for her, their neighbor, a Park County deputy sheriff, knocked on their door.
"The neighbor had come over and told him if we seen blood in the driveway not to be alarmed because there was a coyote that he had shot," Brown says.
She was horrified because she realized he was actually talking about Shiva. "That's not a coyote, that's my dog!"
Sunday morning another neighbor came over and told the family what he saw. "He said 'well the guy right there shot your dog last night, and he took him over by the mailboxes and he just dumped him.'"
They told Brown they saw her next door neighbor, sheriff's deputy Matthew Jackmond, jabbing the dog with a stick before walking into his house, grabbing a gun, standing over the dog and shooting Shiva point-blank in the head.
Later Saturday neighborhood kids found the dog dumped in a ditch nearby with a pair of bloody gloves next to the animal.
"How could you mistake a full-blooded German Shepherd for a coyote?" Brown asks.
Park County Sheriff Fred Wagner says the deputy was off-duty at the time and the sheriff's department is investigating the incident.
This happened just days after a task force was formed in Colorado that's designed to find ways to train law enforcement officers how to defuse encounters with pets rather than just shooting them. It's required under the state's recently-passed dog protection law.
Brown says she doesn't want her neighbor fired, but she does wish he had gone through some training. She says her old dog's life could've ended in her family's arms rather than dumped in a ditch.
FOX31 Denver tried to reach the deputy for comment, but he did not return our telephone calls.