Canton family mourns dog shot to death by neighbor

A Canton Township woman is demanding justice after a neighbor killed her dog.

She says the dog, Boxer mix named Stewie, didn't hurt anyone and didn't deserve to die. Now, she wants police to take action. 

"It breaks my heart everyday," said Michelle Sponsler. "I wake up every morning and he's not there."

The family says Stewie's life was taken in an instant after he ran from the family's yard on Saturday.

That's when they said nearby neighbors became afraid and one started charging at the dog with a rake.

"I asked everybody please calm down," said Simeon Sponsler. "Let's be rational let us get our dog and let's go." 

But she said before she could get her dog, a neighbor went into the house and got a gun.

"He shot my dog right in front of me," said Simeon Sponsler. "It could be anywhere from three to 10 feet, my dog was away. He was right there. And if he had missed, I'm very fearful that he would have gotten me."

Fox 2 tried to reach the neighbor Sponsler says pulled the trigger, but no one answered the door.

One neighbor did talk to FOX 2 and she says Stewie is a problem dog, but says the shooting was excessive.

"I think pepper spray would have been a better option," said Amanda Crowther. "But he felt what he thought was necessary."

As the family grieves the loss of Stewie, Canton police are working to determine what took place.

"We're still in the process of reviewing the information that we have and reviewing the witness statements," said Sgt. Dan Traylor of Canton police. "After that we will be forwarding that information to the prosecutor's office and will decide what charges are appropriate." 

Sponsler says the family had hired a trainer to work with Stewie and they understand some may have been afraid of him but they say that fear should not have left Stewie dead .
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