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A Greenville, South Carolina woman is devastated over the death of her 10-month old puppy by police who were serving a warrant at her neighbor’s house.
Greenville County Sheriff’s deputies say they were left with no choice but to shoot when “an aggressive pit bull that was on the loose came charging at them” as they served a warrant at the house next door.
But, the dog’s owner tells an entirely different story.
Marissa Gilliland says that her husband was working on his car in the driveway when she heard a commotion and stepped outside with her 10-month-old dog, Chico, who she says is always by her side. She says her happy dog, who loved everyone, then ran toward the officers in a friendly way, not growling or barking. She says if they’d given Chico just a second more, he would have given them his paw. Instead, an officer fired at the dog, striking him in the leg.
Gilliland says after the first shot was fired, Chico turned and tried to run back to her, but the deputy fired several more shots, killing him. She said at least 4 to 6 shots were fired from behind Chico as he tried to run to his owner, with the fatal shots striking him while he was already back in his own yard.
Master Deputy Drew Pinciaro released the following statement on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office:
“In regards to the dog shooting, it is not our intent or practice to use deadly force on animals. In this situation, the dog came at the deputy in an aggressive manner while he was serving a search warrant and that is why he shot the dog. Due to the dog being aggressive and unrestrained, that is why he used the level of force he did.”
Gilliland is understandably heartbroken over the loss of her beloved dog. “I have never been this hurt in my life,” she told WYFF4. “Other people say, ‘He is just a dog,’ but he wasn’t. He was my best friend. My everything. He was family.”