HEBRON — A family's dog was fatally shot in their yard by a man who was walking in the area, police said.
The family said they are devastated by the loss of Charlie, a 35-pound black Lab mix who was 18 months old. Charlie died from the gunshot wound and the family said they have been distraught and afraid since it happened last Friday.
At 1:18 p.m. April 23 police were called to the 9200 block of East 137th Avenue in Hebron in reference to a dog shot in the area, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
When police arrived they found the man, who had called 911, walking on County Line Road just south of East 137th Avenue. The man had his gun holstered on his right side and police checked the gun and put the safety on. He was found to have a valid Indiana firearms permit, police said.
The man told police he regularly walks along East 137th Avenue and he carries a firearm because "he has had problems with dogs in the past," the police report said. He claimed he was walking east on 137th Avenue on the south side of the road when he saw a black dog begin to run toward him.
He said the dog was across the street in the front yard of a residence and was barking. The man said he was afraid he was going to get bitten as the dog neared the road.
Then, while the dog was still in its yard, the man shot the dog and retreated back toward another neighbor's property.
The man said he saw the owner of the dog present outside and she saw what happened. The man told her he would call 911, after which the dog owner told him to leave.
Police met with the dog owner, who said her dog was in her yard when she began to run toward the man barking. She said she called the dog, who stopped in her yard about 20 feet away from the road, police reported.
She said her dog, Charlie, died from the gunshot wound. Police found a 40-caliber shell casing directly across from the woman's home.
Marsha Essary, whose daughter was the owner of Charlie, said the family is shaken by the shooting at their home. She said her young grandchildren, who were very close to Charlie, have been crying and upset since the loss.
She said that Charlie was not an aggressive dog and she was just acting as any typical dog would while in its yard. Essary said the man could have accidentally shot her daughter who was outside with the dog at the time.
"After he shot the dog, my daughter said she couldn't believe what she was seeing," Essary said. "She could not believe someone would shoot a dog like that."
The Lake County Sheriff's Department said criminal charges against the man are pending and his identity has not yet been released.
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