In response to the story “Deputy fatally shoots dog during attack” in the Herald-Sun on Dec. 13, we want to be sure readers understand that on Dec. 9, one of our family dogs was shot in the head by a Durham County sheriff’s deputy investigating a break-in — not a break-in at our home, but at our neighbor’s home.

The officer came onto our property from the side yard and our three Jack Russells, not knowing who he was or where he came from, circled him and did what terrier dogs do to protect their territory from strangers or intruders. All three of our pets were wearing fully-functioning invisible fence collars and the driveway boundary was marked by bright orange flagging.

This horrific, senseless act of violence by investigating officer L. Kelly has devastated our family.

We agree completely that police officers should be able to enter private property in good faith to investigate suspicious activity. However, there was no such activity on our property — just our car parked in front of an open garage.

If the officer had entered the property in his patrol car, via our gravel driveway, this senseless killing would have never occurred. Our dogs hear cars approaching and greet all comers (even us) on the edge of their flagged invisible fence boundary. The officer would have passed a “no trespassing” sign and three signs indicating that there are dogs on the premises. At least three deliveries occurred earlier that day without incident.

The above is all true, but is very much irrelevant.

The officer had no right or reason to execute our little dog on our front walkway. The shell casing lay just feet from the invisible fence boundary. All he had to do was walk away. A swift kick and a couple of steps would have done the trick.

Drawing his weapon and shooting our dog in the head was a reckless and violent decision. Any notion that his life was in danger is utterly preposterous. Terriers bark and they nip at your ankles. A bite would not be a nice experience. But life threatening? Never.

This officer ought to be punished to the fullest extent.

Surely use of a weapon is not acceptable behavior for a patrol officer when faced with small dogs reacting to an intruder.

I would appreciate your support of our outrage and disbelief that this could have happened in the name of “law enforcement.”

Baubles and laptops can be replaced. Our beloved Bailey is gone forever.

Bill and Bobbie Hardaker live on Kerley Road in Durham.