HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police are investigating after an emotional support dog was shot and killed in front of its owner at a west Houston business.
The shooting happened Wednesday, April 19, at Champion Landscape Supplies on Highway 6.
Houston Police Department's Major Offenders Division was assigned to the case. The animal's owner, George Baiamonte, told ABC13 he is devastated.
"He murdered it. He straight up murdered it," Baiamonte said.
The dog, a 2-year-old Doberman, went everywhere with Baiamonte. He called him "Big Red Dog," but his full name was Sir Dobie Willow.
He was an emotional support animal, Baiamonte said, and they were close.
"I don't have children so he was my substitute child. I woke up, there he was. He'd lean his head over. He'd look at me. I'd tell him, 'Good morning.' We would eat together, work together," he said.
So, last week, the dog was with George when he was picking up landscape supplies with his niece. They let the dog out to relieve itself and the next thing Baiamonte heard was gunfire.
"I heard two shots. At the minute I heard the two shots, I looked straight out my window and saw this guy stepping toward my dog and putting three more shots into his head," Baiamonte said. "That was traumatic. That was traumatic in itself. (I) would have never thought, in a million years, to go somewhere I frequent often, that an employee would kill my animal."
Joe McGehee, who's the operations manager at Champion Landscape Supplies, said he was sorry that it happened. He told ABC13 no one knew the dog or that it was a comfort dog. He said the employee who opened fire was sitting in his truck when the dog, unleashed and barking, charged at him and shot it.
"It was a bad deal all around," McGehee said.
Baiamonte disputes the account. The next day, he went back and found a shell casing on the ground. That's when he called police.
"The first two shots, he shot my dog in the leg. Why wasn't that enough? Why wasn't that enough? Why did you have to put three more bullets in his head? That was cruel. What he did was animal cruelty, at its finest," Baiamonte said.
Baiamonte wants someone to be held accountable. The police investigation is pending.
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