Greenville Co. woman distraught after dog slain; sheriff says sh - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville Co. woman distraught after dog slain; sheriff says shooting under investigation

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Chico and Marissa Gilliland (Source: Facebook) Chico and Marissa Gilliland (Source: Facebook)
Chico and Marissa Gilliland (Source: Facebook) Chico and Marissa Gilliland (Source: Facebook)

An Upstate woman said the dog she loved with all her heart was shot and killed by the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Marissa Gilliland said 10-month-old dog Chico shot four times when deputies were serving a search warrant at a neighbor's home.

Graphic photos of Chico's body began circulating on social media, but were too gruesome to be released.

Gilliland said Chico was outside running in her yard while her husband was working on his car. When deputies fired the fatal shots, Gilliland said Chico tried to run back to her and she saw the whole thing.

"I had to witness my... my everything get killed like that," she said.

SLIDESHOW: Photos of Chico before deadly shooting

Deputies confirmed the shooting, but said while they were trying to serve a search warrant, "an aggressive pit bull that was on the loose came charging at them."

Below is a full statement issued by Master Deputy Drew Pinciaro 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 claims Chico did not bark or growl, only walked up to deputies on scene.

"He is really friendly and loved people," she said. "He would be around around kids, the neighbors would come play with him. He would never attack anyone."

Gilliland said she believes changes should be made to determine the type of force used when deputies are dealing with animals.

"They need to change some sort of law where they can taze a dog or they can do anything instead of keep shooting him," she said. "I just don't want this to happen to anyone else's dog and I want justice for Chico."

On Wednesday, Sheriff Will Lewis released an official statement on the case, saying it would be investigated by the office of professional responsibility:

For every instance involving a deputy’s discharge of a weapon, whether accidental or intentional, it is investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility. This situation will be thoroughly investigated as are all situations. Once all of the evidence is garnered, and upon completion of the investigation, we will be able to release the complete details in full and not piecemeal information. At that point, the determination will be made if disciplinary action or charges should be made against any of the parties involved.  It should be noted, as of the time of this release, no formal complaint has been filed with the Office of Professional Responsibility by any parties involved.

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