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Merrit Island pit bull shot and killed by police within feet of toddler

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A Merritt Island, Florida family is devastated after their family dog was shot and killed, WKMG6 reported January 20.

This tragedy began when someone called the police and reported a two-year-old toddler was playing by himself. When deputies from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office arrived at the home, witnesses say an officer immediately drew his gun and approached the dog, who was said by police to be aggressive.

Brownie, a 5-year-old pit bull, was shot twice by the officer, and died from his injuries.

Witness, however, have a different story to tell. Robert Gringas stated in an interview with WKMG6

"Dog didn't lunge at him, dog didn't do anything, dog just growled,. What if that bullet ricocheted? That kid would have been dead."

The family describes 5-year-old Brownie as very protective of all five of their children, especially the youngest. The 2-year-old toddler sat in his stroller only feet away from Brownie. The family believes the responding deputy should have spoken to the family, who was within feet inside a garage area of their home.

The deputy responsible for ending Brownie's life finished out his work day, and he will not be put on administrative leave. The family plans to file a complaint with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

It has become almost standard procedure for police to shoot the family dog, even when the animal is fleeing. All an officer has to say is "The dog was aggressive and I feared for my safety," and the powers-that-be always agree with the officer at fault. To do otherwise would mean taking responsibility that shooting the family dog was wrong, which would open the police department to a lawsuit.

Should anyone care to complain about how this case was handled, please feel free to contact the Brevard County Sheriff's Department on their website.

Rest in peace, Brownie. You died protecting your family. And to the police officer who has forever changed the image these innocent children now view police, if you're so afraid of dogs, you need to find another job.

A petition to protect family dogs from trigger-happy officers can be found here. This video, which can't be embedded, shows the grief-stricken children as they cry over their murdered dog.

Your comments are welcome.

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