A family in Phoenix is still in shock after their neighbor reportedly "euthanized" their dog with a sledgehammer after the dog had been struck by a car.
Beau, the Garcia family's dog, was hit by a car on April 16, according to witness Jessica Headley.
Headley said she was driving through the neighborhood when she saw the injured dog crawling back to her home.
"She was able to crawl to the porch. She wasn't yelping, but she was panting hard," Headley told WBRC.
The Garcias weren't home at the time. Headley, who has a dog of her own, said she was going to take Beau to an animal hospital when a neighbor walked over carrying a sledgehammer.
"I was like, 'What are you doing? You can’t do that,'" Headley recalled.
The man reportedly told her the dog was suffering and had to be euthanized.
Headley's efforts to keep the man away from Beau failed, and he hit the dog twice with the hammer, killing her.
Headley said she was horrified by the experience.
"That’s the last thing she saw was some stranger with a sledgehammer," she said. "That’s horrible."
The neighbor reportedly declined to comment when asked about the incident.
Meanwhile Beau's family is struggling to come to terms with what took place.
"I wish he would think twice about doing what he did to our dog," Jesse Garcia told WBRC.
Police visited the scene but no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.
According to the website of Jackson White, an attorney, the state of Arizona considers a person guilty of animal cruelty if he or she "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [kills] any animal under another custody or control without either legal privilege or consent of the owner."
It is possible the neighbor could be charged because he did not have consent to kill the dog.
Violation of the state's animal cruelty laws typically results in a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of no more than $2,500.
On the other hand, felony charges await anyone who forces animals to "engage in an exhibition of fighting with another animal ... for amusement or gain, causing any animal to fight with another animal, or causing any animals to injure each other." A person found guilty of arranging animal fights would face a minimum of six months in prison and a maximum of two years.