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Sheriff's Deputies Kill Dog During Search for Armed Suspects

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Sheriff's deputies on the hunt for an armed gang member in Norwalk shot a dog in the neighborhood that attacked one of their K-9s. Now neighbors are speaking out — not against the armed gang members but against the deputies who shot their neighbor's dog.

"They shot the dog in front of everybody," neighbor Eric Castaneda told ABC 7. "My daughter, she's 12 years old, she just ran in crying. How could they do that?"

The sheriff's deputies say that the man's pit bull put the life of their K-9 and men in danger. The man says that the deputies handled the situation poorly and needlessly killed his dog, according to ABC 7.

It started yesterday afternoon when deputies were searching a neighborhood in Norwalk, looking for armed gang members. The last place the suspects had been seen was the yard of Eddie Perez. Deputies asked Perez to remove his 2-year-old pit bull Ziggy from the yard. Perez says he warned deputies that it might not be a good idea, because he didn't have a leash. They asked him to do it anyway.

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As Perez was letting Ziggy out, the dog spotted the deputies' K-9 Tosca. Deputies say Perez lost control of Ziggy, who charged toward Tosca and pinned the dog down. Neighbors captured the moment on tape.

Perez says he yelled at the deputies to tase the dog, instead of shooting it: "I'm telling the Sheriff's, 'Taser my dog, Taser my dog.' His exact words were, 'No, shoot that (expletive) dog.'"

Deputies said they needed to shoot the dog in a prepared statement: "Due to the aggressive and violent nature of the pit bull the deputy was forced to shoot it in order to save the life of Tosca and the surrounding community members."

Perez says the incident was handled poorly, and he's hired an attorney.

"They don't apologize," he told ABC 7. "They saw their dog was more important to them than my dog. They're the ones that told me to do what I did. They're not taking responsibility for it."

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Perez said that the deputies didn't end up searching his yard — but he found one of the suspect's loaded guns in his yard later. Deputies ended up arresting three men, who were arrested for parole violations. Tosca the K-9 is expected to survive.