Denton Couple: ‘Why Would You Kill Our Dog?’

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News

DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Did someone intentionally shoot a Denton couple’s dog or was it an accident? Either way, the broken hearted couple hopes someone comes forward with information about the shooter to keep it happening to someone else.

The Buffalo Valley Ranch in Denton is known for its tranquility, a place where buffalo really do roam on vast acres of land.

But on New Year’s Day, sometime between 4 and 4:30 in the afternoon, that peace was disturbed when Bob and Jackie Merritt found their Yorkshire Terrier, named Mercy Me, dead from a massive bullet wound.  “She was our baby,” Jackie Merritt said.

Mercy Me was a wedding gift to the Merrits, who married on the land seven years ago and then built a 13,500 square foot wedding and event center on it. They call it the Buffalo Valley Event Center.

Jackie Merritt remembers the day they named their pet. “Bob has big hands. And, he picked her up and she was so tiny. She just filled his hand a little bit and he just said, ‘Well, mercy me. That’s a little bitty dog.’ Ah, I said. ‘Well, that’s her name now, Mercy Me.'”

When Mercy Me didn’t return from her walk, the Merritts looked for her separately and arrived at one of their fences. “And, there she was,” Jackie Merritt said.

Police think someone shot the little dog with a rifle. “A 22 magnum, up to an AR15 type. They wouldn’t necessarily have to get onto the property,” Denton Police Department’s Ryan Grelle said.

Though Jackie Merritt has forgiven the shooter, she doesn’t think it was an accident. “With a scope you can see.  She’s a dog. She doesn’t run like a rabbit,” Jackie Merritt said.
Whoever fired the weapon faces a charge as serious as animal cruelty or at the very least discharging a firearm within the Denton city limits.

But Jackie Merritt isn’t interested in charges. “That’s not in my heart. My heart is that their heart would be change.A nd if the heart’s changed then we don’t have to worry about that happening to somebody else,” Jackie Merritt said.

Illegally discharging a firearm is a misdemeanor. But it could mean a five hundred dollar fine. Animal cruelty is a felony in Texas. Punishment for that could mean a 10-thousand dollar fine and up to two years in jail.

  • patricia elliott

    I feel so sorry for these people. I will keep them an mercy me in my prayers tonight. I have small dogs of my own and would be devastated if this happened to one of them.

  • Lois M

    sad sad sad,,,I feel so sorry for the family. What a horrible act someone did…I hope they find them and prosecute to the fullest.

  • Cindy

    Why kill a tiny dog? This person has some serious issues and needs to be caught and dealt with in the proper fashion.

  • ash

    Question…did the dog take itself for walks. Why does it say when Mercy Me didn’t return from her walk they went to look for her? Perhaps a leash and supervised walk could have prevented this tragedy.

    • Jennifer Palmer

      You know what? We live on 108 acres… Which means, we can let our animals out without fear of them being hurt. It’s not like we take them to the dog park and let them roam free. I live one the back of this property and I am fearful of letting my children or pets out front… much less walking from the gate, to or from school. I am not being parinoid… Someone knew this was a dog, and shot anyway. It’s sad and sick. I dont want anyone to be sent to jail, like the Meritts, I just want them to understand that this was a life. The life of a pet, and if someone had been turning the corner of the drive where this gate was, it could have been the life of a human. There are people, children, animals, living on and guests and visiting this property. It is not ok for bullets to be flying around and getting anything!

  • john McGee

    For someone from the city who is unfamiliar with country life I’m sure a leash and controlled walk sounds logical but our house is positioned in the middle of 100 acres and the dog has never nor would ever leave the immediate area.
    You should not have to live in fear of some mentally disturbed individual shooting across your fence towards your house and killing your dog! “A leash and controlled walk” would not accomplish a thing other than to give the sick individual a bigger target to shoot at.

  • Yorkie Mom

    I would be willing to contribute to a reward for information leading to the apprehension of the person who shot this defenseless family pet. The type of person who would do this probably “hangs’ with others who like to boast about their activities and will turn on each other in a heart beat to get something for nothing, As the “Mom” to a precious little Yorkie that I rescued and who brings so much joy to my life, my heart goes out to this family.

  • Ron

    I feel so sorry for Jackie and Bob. I hope the sad(sick ?) person who did this will have a change of heart and give himself up and ask forgiveness
    Ron Y Australia

  • Jennifer Palmer

    Thank you everyone for your support. Anyone who had owned a pet or had the pleasure of knowing Mercy Me, knows that this is a tragic loss for the Meritts!!!!

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