LUCAS, Ohio-- The Richland County Sheriff's Office say they came to a house looking for a suicidal woman, but it turned out to be the wrong home. While there, they say deputies encountered a 9-month-old dog at the top of the stairs.
Zeus, a mastiff-rottweiler mix, was a beloved member of the McGregor family. The dog was shot and killed by a deputy inside the family's home outside of Lucas Tuesday morning.
"He was like my kid. To our kids, he was like their protector. He followed them around the yard, he wouldn't let them get too far from him," Tiffany McGregor said.
But how the deputies ended up at the house is a perplexing story. It started with a call to a suicide hotline by a woman threatening to take her own life. They tracked her cell phone and found the last known billing address was the McGregors' home.
Tiffany McGregor said deputies called her at work with the news so she let them go inside.
"I proceeded to tell him I have a dog, he's just a puppy. I said his name is Zeus, but he's large. And I said if you call out to him, you know nothing will happen. He said, 'Well, we've already met your dog,'" McGregor said.
What the deputy did not tell McGregor was that he had already been in the house, saw Zeus and went out to call the dog warden, who was unavailable. The deputy reported the dog became aggressive and charged at him.
"And they wouldn't let us in the house. But when we finally came in the house, it looked like a murder scene. Our kids were at school. He ended up dying on my son's bed in a pool of blood," McGregor said.
The deputy shot the dog three times and the suicidal woman was not at the house.
"It's hard to explain to the kids that the police come in your house trying to help someone, but they killed your dog. They don't understand. They want to know why, why would you kill our dog? Because the dog they know is their protector," McGregor said.
While the deputy said he feared the dog would attack him, the family questions the series of events that led to him being inside the home.
"They didn't have to kill my dog in a brutal manner like that. I mean they could have tased him or shot him with a bean bag, even shut the door," Leonard McGregor said.
"We were all talking about stuff the other day, what we were thankful for. And Aubrey, my littlest one, says 'We're thankful for Zeus and mommy,'" Leonard McGregor said.
The McGregors said they are consulting with an attorney and plan to take legal action against the sheriff's office.