Someone shot and killed a dog in Crossville, Illinois last week, and the White County Sheriff's Office is trying to find out who killed the animal and why.
Deputies say the young Doberman Pincher was shot several times in the family's backyard.
18-month-old Mary was killed on the morning of July 4, and so far, there isn't any evidence pointing to who killed her. Officers say they're suspicious of at least one person.
"She was one of our kids, and for somebody to come on in our backyard and start shooting, it's just unbelievable that would happen here," Mary's owner, Chris Mercer said.
Chris says his dog was quietly sitting in her pen Thursday morning as the Mercer family was sound asleep inside their home on Potter Street.
"We heard shots fired," Chris said.
"It was extremely scary, because all of us know exactly what it was," Chris' wife, Amanda, said.
The Mercers ran outside and say almost all of their neighbors did the same thing. One of them told the Mercers to go check on Mary.
"Our dog had been shot. There was blood everywhere," Chris told 14 News.
Mary had been shot in the neck and the spine. She later died at the vet's office. Deputies figured out a total of four shots were fired.
"That's just ridiculous. It was very sad. We cried when we first found out she died," said Morgan Mercer, the Mercers' daughter.
"I was screaming, 'Who shot my dog? Who shot my dog?'" Amanda said.
Deputies say evidence is currently limited, but that they do have a 'person of interest' in the case.
"A neighbor called about this dog barking the night before," said Sgt. Byrd Huber with the White County Sheriff's Office.
An officer later spoke to that very same neighbor, who denied ever hearing the gun shots.
"Which our officer thought was a little strange at the time because his house would be right next to where the gun shots were fired, with other neighbors hearing the gun shots that were farther away," Huber said.
Now, the Mercers are left with photographs and a freshly-dug grave for Mary, while they wait for justice.
"We just want him, whoever done it, to be put in jail. We don't want him to stay out there. We don't want anything to happen to anybody else's dog," Morgan said.
The White County Sheriff's Office will be sending the two bullets that killed Mary to the state police's crime lab to be analyzed. They hope that process will produce clearer evidence in this case.
If you have any information on this shooting, you should contact law enforcement.
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