Dog Shooting Brings About Safety Concerns in Alton Neighborhood

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ALTON – An Alton couple and their neighbors said they fear for their safety Tuesday night. The couple's dog was shot earlier this week.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the Labrador retriever was shot around 9 p.m. on Monday. He was reportedly shot on a nearby property, then ran to a neighbor's driveway and died.

Witnesses said the alleged shooter was behind the property in a canal area.     

The pet's owner, Jerry Ramirez, said he returned home Tuesday night after having spent the past two weeks in Utah.  

Ramirez said he was saddened about not being greeted by his dog Zack. His wife, Dinora Mendoza, said she gave him the dog as a gift on Valentine's Day 2015. 

"I would walk the dog around, take him to the park, and drive him everywhere. He was always with me," Ramirez said. "Before I left, I was here and I was, 'Hey Zack, I'll be back.' I gave him a hug, he gave me a hug. He jumped up and then I heard he was gone, he was shot and I was like what?"

Ramirez's wife was home when the suspect used a shotgun to kill the dog.  

"I came out because my sister called me and I get here and my neighbors crying, the kids are crying. I'm like 'What happened?' and they're like 'Zack is dead,'" said Mendoza.

Mendoza's neighbor, Ana Villanueva, witnessed the shooting.  She said she was outside with her six-year-old daughter at the time Zack was shot.

"We were listening to music, my daughter and I were just dancing when we heard the first shot," she said. "Then I lowered the music when I heard the second shot. When I heard the third shot, Zack was already in my land, he was wounded."

Villanueva said her child was traumatized by what she witnessed. She fears for the safety of those who live in the neighborhood.

"My daughter has not been able to sleep at night. It's been two nights and she wakes up in the middle of the night and she's afraid," the mother said.

Villanueva said she and Mendoza reported the shooting to the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office.  

Hidalgo County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. JP Rodriguez spoke with CHANNEL 5 NEWS off camera. He confirmed a deputy came out to the location and filed a report.

Rodriguez said the deputy tried to find the shooter and the report was forwarded to the department's Criminal Investigations Unit. 

Rodriguez added the sheriff's office has to look at all circumstances surrounding the investigation before he can comment further on what actions will be taken. However, he told CHANNEL 5 NEWS there is a statute in the Texas Penal Code dealing with animal cruelty.

The Texas Penal Code addresses cruelty to non-livestock animals. According to the code, it is a violation if someone – without the owner’s consent – kills, administers poison to or causes serious bodily injury to an animal.

The violation is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If a person has been previously convicted twice of cruelty to non-livestock animals, then it will upgrade to a state jail felony. 


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