Woman says Cumberland Co deputy should not have shot her dog

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Astro was shot Saturday (WTVD)

Tamara Abraham pointed to her face as she stood in front of her house, near the place where a Cumberland County deputy shot her 7-year-old German shepherd Saturday.

"Like target practice," she said as she raised her hand. "In the very middle of his eyes."

The dog, Astro, survived the shooting. He's being treated at a Fayetteville animal hospital. But Abraham said Astro was trying to protect her and the shooting should have never happened.

Abraham's home on Marsh Road is up for sale. She said around 6 p.m. Saturday, a man drove onto her property and told her he wanted to buy the house.

"He pulled up and was kind of belligerent and I could tell something was off," she recalled. "And he wasn't so much there to see my house because he wasn't even talking- asking me about the house or the land. He was more saying, 'I got the cash right here, honey.' And 'I'll pay you cash for it. And oh, you're mighty pretty!' Whatever. I didn't feel comfortable."

Abraham said the man kept asking to come inside to look around, but she wouldn't let him. She eventually sent Astro after him. She said as the dog chased the man back into his car, she called 911 for help.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office tells ABC11 two deputies responded to the disturbance call. When they got there, no one was in the driveway.

Sgt. Sean Swain, Sheriff's Office spokesperson, said because of the nature of the call, the deputy who went up to the door already had his hand on his gun.

"The deputy had the gun in his hand," he explained. "When she opened the door, the dog came through the door in an aggressive manner and he shot the dog. There's not time to react."

Swain said the deputy did as he was trained; when he thought the German shepherd was going to bite him, he fired one shot to stop him, hitting him in the snout. Officials said the bullet traveled through his head and out the back of his neck.

Abraham doesn't deny Astro was barking and growling at the deputy, but she said her dog has never hurt anyone and wasn't lunging at him.

"I was just in the middle of saying, 'Astro! Get- ' and I was gonna say get inside and I heard a pop. And they- they shot him."

The sheriff's office called animal control to come get the dog. They took him to an animal urgent care where he was treated.

On Monday, county officials decided to move Astro to the Cumberland County Animal Shelter. From there, shelter director Dr. John Lauby decided Astro needed further care so he sent him to an animal hospital.

Swain said Monday a nonprofit agency is stepping in to cover Astro's vet bills.

The sheriff's office is carrying out an internal investigation. No charges have been filed.

According to Animal Control records this is not the first incident where Astro has been dangerously aggressive.

On March 15, 2015, Astro bit a young girl on the right thigh. The girl received treatment for the bite and the dog was placed in standard Animal Control 10 day quarantine in March of last year because of the attack and the bite.

Meanwhile, Swain said deputies would not be following up to look for the man who caused Abraham to call 911 in the first place.

Abraham described the moment she first went to the urgent care to see her dog over the weekend.

"I kind of had a meltdown because I was all wanting to see him but then I thought, can I take this?" she said. "I mean, he's my everything. He's all I've had for years."

Now, Abraham is hoping Astro pulls through.

"It makes me so mad. This shouldn't have happened."

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