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Family dog shot by hunter who said he mistook it for a coyote

NEW JERSEY – A New Jersey family says a hunter shot and killed their dog in their own backyard, according to WPIX.

The 1-year-old Alaskan shepherd, Tonka, was out for walk with his owner Sept. 21 in their large, shared yard when he spotted deer and ran after them.

Tonka's owner called out for him, following the path he ran.

“Within 30 seconds, I heard a pop noise, and then I heard him ‘yip.’ It never occurred to me that somebody was out there,” Elizabeth Mongno said. Mongno and her husband found Tonka lying on the ground, bleeding from a wound caused by a crossbow bolt.

"It was beyond horrible," she told WPIX.

The hunter, who allegedly shot and killed Tonka wasn't immediately identified. He told authorities it was an accident and that he thought he was shooting a coyote.

Mongno doesn’t believe it, “He had a crossbow. He probably shot my dog from 30-40 yards away – he had a big scope,” she said. “He knew it was a dog. If you don’t know what you’re shooting, don’t pull the trigger. It could’ve been my kid.”

The hunter is facing several charges with the possibility of losing his license.