A sheriff's spokesman says a relatively new handler let his dog into the backyard and was away from it for just a short time when he heard barking. He went outside and found his canine unit in the neighbor's yard.
"For some reason, our dog was able to punch through two boards and actually split them and get through to the other side and get after that chihuahua," Tony Botti said.
Tony Botti says the sheriff's office had inspectors examine the yard just a little while before the incident and they found no reason for concern. He says they're not sure the cause of death on the chihuahua, but it had a puncture wound on its stomach. He says it also may have literally been scared to death.
Botti says the rookie handler and the dog are not certified to handle calls together. He says canines are allowed to be free in the yard, but they're typically in their kennels. The sheriff's office is still investigating but the deputy has not been disciplined.
The office has offered to replace Monty.