Family dog shot to death by St. Clair County deputy, owner left heartbroken

Body camera video shows the St. Clair County sheriff’s deputy's encounter. Seconds later – the deputy fired two shots, killing the dog, named Rocko.

"They were a block away, and the police coaxed them with the food, and then they shot him," said Maggie Meldrum, the dog's owner.

Backing up to September 12th, Rocko and a pit bull named Charlotte got out of their yard in downtown Algonac, after getting sprayed by a skunk.

Their owner Maggie Meldrum – says she didn’t know where they were. A neighbor called 911 – and this deputy responded.

"We're not just going to ignore that and find out later that these dogs bit somebody, or attacked somebody," said St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King.

King says – animal control was tied up on another call and that it’s normal for deputies to step in.

The deputy found the dogs, unknowingly a couple blocks from where they live – then, he tried to coax them into his squad car.

"The dog growls and lunges at the deputy so the deputy backs up and withdraws his weapon, and the animal does it again growling and showing his teeth and lunging at the deputy," King said. "At that point unfortunately, the deputy felt he had no other action he could take other than get bit or attacked."

"I don't. I don't believe he was being charged. He had one plate of food for two dogs, and he was calling them to him," said Meldrum.

There was an internal review of the deputy's actions – it found he didn’t violate policy.

"He was upset, he didn't come to work that day to have to destroy an animal," the sheriff said.

Body camera video shows the deputy is audibly upset after the shooting.

"I think that he should be reprimanded so this doesn't happen to another dog," she said.

That deputy now getting death threats – by some of a growing number of people speaking out against the sheriff’s office.

"Even if you don't agree with how he handled it, a reaction like threatening people or telling people to kill themselves, I don't understand what that kind of mindset comes from," King said.

The sheriff says – the dog’s owner has not contacted them directly but welcomes it.

In the meantime, Meldrum is planning a rally Saturday in Algonac, for Rocko – who she says was much more than a pet.

"He was my best friend," she said. "I lost my fiancé, and he got me through his death. He was just my best friend."