It happened fast, but now one department is faced with criticism and a Tarleton Texan football player is left without his best friend.

"It's just so sad and I still don't know why it had to happen this way," said Arthur Buckingham, who's pit bull dog Max was shot to death by an Erath County Sheriff's deputy Oct. 22.

Sheriff Tommy Bryant said it happened because the dog was running loose and showed aggression toward the officer.

"The dog was charging at the officer with its teeth bared and growling," Bryant said. "I'm sure the officer didn't go there with the plan to shoot a dog, but he felt he was in danger and that is our policy on aggressive dogs. We can't put our officers at risk."

Buckingham said Max never showed any aggression.

"I got Max when he was five weeks old and did lots of research on how to socialize and train a pit bull," he said. "If Max was in trouble, or thought he might be, if the officer was yelling at him, I've trained him to go to that person, not run away or stop. He's not an aggressive dog, he was a good dog and very social with other animals and people."

Buckingham said he was told about the shooting by a property owner, who reportedly called the sheriff's office in reference to dogs running loose on her property.

"She told me she called the sheriff because the other dog Max was with growled at her when she walked out the door," Buckingham said. "The deputy wasn't even there about Max, he was guilty by association, it was almost like stereotyping. But the deputy told me that when he got out of his car and started yelling, the other dog ran off and Max ran toward him."

According to what Buckingham said he was told, the deputy continued yelling at the dog and "picked out a spot on the ground close to him and when the dog reached that point, he shot."

He said the deputy told him he left the dog on the ground in the yard. Another deputy arrived on scene and searched for the other dog and the owners of the animals. However, neither were found at that time, Bryant reported. And before animal control arrived to remove the animal, Buckingham returned home, found his dog missing and went on a search for him.

"I found Max about 170 feet from the lady's backyard," he said. "Which also doesn't make sense because, from everything I was told, Max died in the lady's front yard and no one knows who moved him."

Whatever the case, Buckingham said he is angry the department's policy is to shoot first, ask questions later.

"Max hadn't attacked anyone, he was only running towards someone who was yelling at him like he was trained to do," he concluded. "My whole thing with this is that there was no apology and I was upset the most that their first option was to shoot my dog."

Bryant said he hated the deputy had to shoot the animal, but the safety of the officers on scene always comes first.

"I hate that we had to shoot that dog," he said. "I hate my department having anything to do with the death of a pet, but my deputy felt at risk and he did what he felt was in his best interest in the situation."

The sheriff said the best way to avoid similar trouble is to make sure all animals are secured within a pen, yard or your home before leaving them unattended. He said animals running at large, especially if they are a dangerous or aggressive breed, puts the animal, responding officers and other residents at risk.