Off-duty Florida deputy kills family dog after it charges him while walking own dog

A Casselberry family is mourning the loss of their dog after Seminole County deputies say it was shot by an off-duty deputy who was walking his own dog on the sidewalk. The sheriff's office says the deputy was a dog lover, who didn't want things to end this way.

The deceased dog was named Cash, a three-year-old rottweiler that Hannah Martin and her boyfriend Erick Palma had owned since he was a puppy. "He was only a baby, only three years old. It's just completely uncalled-for," Palma said.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office said late Monday night, the off-duty deputy was walking his own dog in the Casselberry neighborhood. The incident report stated that Cash ran out of his house and "aggressively charged" toward the deputy and his dog. Palma said he chased after Cash. "I see the gentleman with his dog right here. As I chase behind Cash, looking only at Cash, I yell, 'I got him, he doesn't bite,' as loud as I possibly can."

In the report, the off-duty deputy stated that Cash attacked his dog, leaving it injured. The sheriff's office report stated that the deputy pulled-out a personal handgun and fired one shot at Cash. They say the deputy brought his dog home and then ran back to Cash with medical supplies, but his owners had already rushed him to the vet, where he died. Palma said it didn't need to come to that. "He didn't give Cash or me a chance to see how we could diffuse this situation without killing."

Former Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said the deputy had to make a snap decision. "The way, especially when the dog is running towards you, the first thought is that maybe this is something that could potentially pose a danger for me, how am I going to react to this, now?"

The sheriff's office said they were not filing charges against anyone in this incident. Martin and Palma say they did plan to file a lawsuit. 

Martin said Cash's death had left a hole in their family. "Cash was loved by so many people. This is something not only affecting us, but also our friends as well. It's just such a tragic ending."