OCALA, Fla. - A Florida young couple who moved to Marion County from Tampa says their dog was shot just minutes after it left their property.
"We just came out here hoping that it would be a bigger place, a bigger place for our dog," said Francis Peralejas.
Peralejas moved in with his girlfriend and dogs about a month ago. They say they had just finished building a fence around their property to keep their dogs in, but one of them slipped through the gate.
Peralejas saw his six-year-old lab mix, Bruno, running from his window. Minutes later, he says he heard a gunshot.
"Next thing I heard was just a gunshot and I heard the dog screaming," Peralejas said. "It kind of still traumatizes me, because hearing a dog that you’ve known for six or seven years is kind of traumatizing."
They rushed Bruno to the vet where he died.
Peralejas and his girlfriend have the bullet they say the veterinarian found lodged in the dog's shoulder.
There aren't many neighbors nearby, but no one has come forward.
"All of them said they didn’t see anything or know anything, but they usually hear gunshots out here," Peralejas said.
Peralejas says his dog was never aggressive and would never hurt someone.
A spokesperson for Marion County told FOX 35 that animal control is investigating, and the sheriff's office could get involved if it becomes a criminal case.
Peralejas is still afraid to let his other three dogs outside for long and hopes someone will be held accountable soon.
"Shooting a dog, it’s a family member," Peralejas said. It’s like a human to us."