Neighbors: Dog was shot, killed by deputy
DAYTON, TX (KTRK) -- Residents in a Dayton neighborhood say they are still in shock after hearing that someone shot and killed a dog that was loved by nearly everyone.
The incident is a real blow to residents. Fred -- a four-year-old black Labrador -- had a family, but it seems everyone in this close-knit community loved him.
Hope Havard was Fred's owner, but he wasn't just her pet. Fred was known to roam the streets of the neighborhood, and Havard said her neighbors treated him like a member of their own families, too.
"He was a really good dog. He liked playing fetch a lot," Havard said. "Everybody loved him and, like, everybody knew him and he knew that he was going to protect everybody."
Last Thursday, the unthinkable happened.
Neighbor Virginia Lewis was inside her home when she heard what sounded like a shotgun blast.
She went outside to investigate and was horrified when she saw Fred lying in the street.
"I was just down here petting him and rubbing him, crying like a baby," Lewis said.
Lewis would soon learn that Fred had been shot by a man whom her neighbors identified as an off-duty Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy who'd been riding his bicycle through the neighborhood.
According to Lewis, the off-duty law officer claimed he got scared because Fred started nipping at his heels while he was riding his bike.
"Fred would protect you, but he wouldn't hurt you," Lewis said.
Liberty County Sheriff's Office investigators say the deputy told them the dog tried to attack him, so he shot it in self-defense. Lewis isn't buying it.
"If he's been in this neighborhood before, he should have known what kind of dog Fred was. He's not going to hurt anybody -- kids, neighbors ride their bikes all the time [and] four-wheelers. He doesn't bother anybody," Lewis said.
While the last few days haven't been easy for grieving residents, they have been especially difficult for Havard -- a 13-year old-girl who is now without her best friend.
"What are you going to miss most about him?" we asked.
"Him always being there when I'm alone and stuff," she replied.
No charges have been filed and Liberty County Sheriff's Office investigators said marks on the officer's shoes seem to match up with his story.
dayton, local, andy cerota
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