A New Jersey family is devastated after their dog Tonka was shot dead by a hunter who mistook the beloved pet for a coyote.
"It's with the heaviest of hearts that we let everybody know about the passing of our beloved Tonka," Elizabeth Mongo, the dog's owner, wrote on Facebook following the September 21 incident. "We are broken here in the Mongno house."
Mongo says she was out for a walk with the 1-year-old Alaskan shepherd in her family's large, shared backyard when Tonka decided to playfully chase after some deer.
The mother of two says she ran after the dog while loudly calling his name but that she wasn't too concerned about his well-being.
"He has done this before and comes back 30 secs (sic) later," she wrote. "This time, he didn't make it back. One of our neighbors, unbeknownst to us, had given a relative property to deer hunt. A man saw Tonka running. Tonka stopped, probably about to return home, and the man shot and killed Tonka with a cross bow (sic)."
“Within 30 seconds, I heard a pop noise, and then I heard him ‘yip.’ It never occurred to me that somebody was out there,” Mongno told WPIX.
Although the hunter who killed Tonka reportedly told authorities it was an accident, Mongo says she doesn't buy his story.
"He had a crossbow. He probably shot my dog from 30-40 yards away- he had a big scope," she told WPIX. "He knew it was a dog. If you don’t know what you’re shooting, don’t pull the trigger. It could’ve been my kid."
The hunter is currently facing several charges with the possibility of losing his license, while Mongo and her family are still reeling from their loss.
"Our hearts are completely broken, we (sic) devastated. I will never forgive myself for letting him get away from me," she wrote on Facebook. "My poor kids couldn't be more broken, especially my 9 year old. Never in a million years did I think that this could happen."