CANYON LAKE, Calif. – Residents were furious after a family dog was shot in its own yard in Canyon Lake, just north of Temecula.
The Kerker family said they found their Yorkshire terrier, Deuce, lying in the backyard with a gunshot wound Saturday night. They rushed the injured Yorkie to the veterinarian, but it was too late to save Deuce, and the Kerkers made the difficult decision to have him put down.
It's not clear who shot Deuce, but the Kerkers and others on the block suspect the next door neighbor, whose Canyon Lake home they gathered in front of over the weekend.
Now, the are demanding a criminal investigation. Police say there is no evidence the man was responsible, according to KTLA-TV.
The Kerkers say their neighbor has complained about Deuce's barking before and is known for disliking dogs.
"I don't put dogs above people, I put people above dogs," the man at the center of the accusations told news crews outside his house. "If a dog is excessively barking it has to be dealt with, one way or the other."
Anger spilled over during a protest in front of his house as residents brought their dogs and chanted "Deuce, Deuce, Deuce."
"There's not a person on this street that hasn't dealt with you," Jen Kerker, Deuce's owner, said to her neighbor. "Get yourself together, dude, it was an animal. If you can't handle neighborhood noises, go find another neighborhood."
If any evidence surfaces in the case, Deuces' shooting would likely fall under California Penal Code 597, which prohibits people from "maliciously and intentionally" maiming, wounding or killing an animal.
"Without evidence it's hard to do anything," said Eric Kerker. "But it's also kind of rough when you see that this opens the floodgates, if people see this does it happen more then?"