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Texas deputy sacked for shooting farmer's dog

By Jana J. Pruet

DALLAS (Reuters) - A sheriff's deputy in northeast Texas has been fired for shooting a farmer's dog through the back of the head in an incident that touched off condemnation around the world.

The farmer, Cole Middleton, 25, said his 2-year-old Australian cattle dog, Candy, survived the gunshot, but he had to put the dog down himself to end its suffering.

Middleton said the dog was like a child to him. In a phone interview on Friday, he added, "I've lost the best employee I had on my farm."

Deputy Jerrod Dooley, who was responding to a burglary call at Middleton's home at the time of the incident, could not be reached for comment. In a video taken at the scene, he claimed the dog was charging him.

Rains County Sheriff David Traylor said Dooley was fired on Thursday. Traylor was considering whether to pursue criminal charges in the case, which has resulted in a flood of criticism into his office.

"His reputation is already ruined. I think he made probably a bad choice," Traylor told local broadcaster KYTX.

Veterinarian Kevin Bankston conducted a post mortem and said in a report the bullet entered from the back of the head and exited toward the nose, indicating Candy was retreating from the shooter.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)