A Hollywood family said police shot dead their pit bull in their backyard Wednesday afternoon.
"He was our pet, like part of the family," said Antonio Williamson as he held up a picture of his dog, Pup Pup.
Hollywood Police said they were looking for a suspect who punched a man in the face and took his bicycle. A witness told police that suspect headed to an area near Williamson's home. Sgt. Gene Cochenour told NBC 6 South Florida officers went into Williamson's yard to try to chase after that suspect.
"He ran on the side of the house without knocking on the door so I could retrieve my dog," Williamson said. "And they shot my dog."
Williamson said of his grayish-black pit bull Terrier, "He was doing what he was taught to do, protect the home."
Hollywood Police said the officers were forced to shoot the pit bull to protect themselves.
Cochenour said the dog confronted one of the officers and even jumped on him. He added that from where they were standing in the yard, the officers had no time to retreat to the gate.
"It's unfortunate that Hollywood Police and the dog had to meet in this way. We sympathize with the family," Cochenour said in a statement.
Williamson's mother, Christine, used the same word to describe the incident.
"Its just unfortunate they didn't wait because no one knew they were out here," she said.
Antonio Williamson said that though Pup Pup is normally gentle, there have been several break-ins in the area. He believes Pup Pup was simply protecting his house.
"Its his home. It's where he lays his head," Williamson said. "Outside of the gate he won't bother you."