(Memphis) An East Memphis family is heartbroken after a police officer shot and killed their dog.
Police say the pit bull mix was charging the officer, so he was justified to shoot.
The family believes it could have been handled another way.
The family describes Marley as a loving dog and affectionate 16-month-old dog.
“My dog suffered when he didn't have to,” said the Marley’s Owner Bayleigh Sanders.
Losing a pet can be so difficult but finding out it suffered, so much worse.
“There were bloody paw prints where he tried to get in the back door and that`s where he died. He bled to death,” said Rachel Burkett, the dog owner’s mother.
No one was home when Marley escaped through a hole in their fenced yard and caused trouble on Colonial Street.
“There was a painter over there and apparently he had a lunch and Marley snagged his lunch,” said Burkett.
Police say Marley bit the guy too and when an officer showed-up Marley charged at him.
The family says it sounds unlike the dog they know, but if it did happen, they wonder if Marley have been handled any other way.
“Marley is probably a 45 pound dog and he was probably a 195 pound officer,” said the dog owner’s boyfriend, Ben Parrish. “It probably wouldn`t be hard batting him with a baton than hitting him with a bullet and killing him.”
“There are different procedures that could have been taken instead of shooting my dog and letting him go back and suffer and go back and look for help and nobody was here,” said Sanders in tears.
Officers are allowed to use deadly force if dogs charge them and police say Marley should not have been out on the street.
“We are still in a state of shock,” said Burkett. “I can`t believe he is gone.”
The police department's Internal Investigation Bureau is investigating the incident, as they do with every officer-involved shooting.