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Deputy, witnesses give differing accounts of dogs’ deaths

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A family is devastated after their two pet pit bulls were shot and killed in broad daylight by a Shelby County Sheriff's deputy.

It reportedly happened Wednesday afternoon outside a home on Scofield Drive in Cordova.

Martell Reed told WREG the dogs -- Patience and Bella -- had been apart of their family for years.

"The oldest dog I had for over 10 years. I had that dog -- older than some of my kids."

"I have five boys and two girls that I had to go home and tell that they babies weren`t coming home no more," she added.

Witness Alsay Montgomery said a neighbor called Animal Control after the dogs escaped his backyard. Instead, it was a sheriff's deputy who arrived.

The deputy said when he knocked on Montgomery's door, the two dogs "charged him viciously."

"He had backed up toward the mailbox like this and he shot the first dog."

Montgomery and another witness we located claimed the dogs posed not threat to the deputy. They said they were merely running up to greet him.

"Shot one and then the other one laid down and then he shot that one," said the witness who did not want to be identified.

"I was yelling out, 'No!' I was like, 'Please, no, no!'" Montgomery added.

The police report told a different story.

The deputy said after shooting the first dog, he issued a "verbal command of 'get back'" to the second. He only opened fire when the dog continued to come towards him, he said.

"I didn`t hear him say anything to the dogs. He was mostly talking on the phone."

Regardless, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said any deputy is well within his or her rights to shoot an animal if they feel threatened.

Reed said that's not right.

"I feel like they been stereotyped. My dogs got shot simply because they was pit bulls."