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FORTSON, GA (WTVM) -
Authorities are searching for someone who intentionally killed a Harris County family's dog, and so far, there is no explanation for why.
"It was hard to believe that anyone would do that," said neighbor, Yvonne Horne.
Bruce Grotecloss said, "I would be mad if somebody did that to my dog," as he passed by on his ATV.
People who live near Lake Rebel Drive in Fortson are reacting to the untimely death of an 11-year-old dog named Diesel. Horne found him lying in the road in bad weather and she originally thought he was hit by a car.
"He tried to raise his head, and I immediately went around him in my car and went and told the neighbor. And they found out he had been shot."
Due to the weather, the owners said their dog was inside the house for most of the day, and this happened during a short window when they allowed him to go outside. They picked up their dog from the road and almost immediately discovered a bullet hole in his forehead.
"It totally went from, 'I just lost my dog' to 'somebody just killed my dog' and on purpose," said Jessica Lange.
"It's got to be somebody close by. Everyone's dog is in jeopardy. People's sense of safety is gone," said Justin Lange.
The Langes deduced the shot was fired sometime between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, but when a sheriff's deputy went door-to-door, no one said they heard or saw anything.
Patti Rossi lives nearby.
"It's a scary situation. My husband- the first thing he said to me was- make sure we're outside with the dogs when they're out there, even in the backyard."
As we were talking with Rossi, a friendly black dog with no collar wandered onto the property to greet us. Residents say it's a common occurrence.
"A lot of people have dogs that just walk around and do whatever," said Asa Merrill.
Rossi and her husband moved to Harris County from Detroit, Michigan. Until now, they've never seen a community where dogs are allowed to roam free.
"So when we first came here, we saw dogs just running around all the time, so we were thinking, is this normal? Is this a loose dog?"
One of the major selling points for the Langes when they moved from their apartment in Columbus to Lake Rebel, was the open space for their pets to wander with no leash law. Jessica Lange said she is moved to tears every time she comes back to her house.
"Because I drive past the spot where I found him. I come home, and he's here. We buried him on our property. And it's just a pain that's hard to erase at this point in time."
Explaining their dog's death to their two small children has been very difficult.
"They just know that he's not here, but our youngest, our 3-year-old son just keeps saying 'well, he'll come back," said the Langes.
While it won't bring their dog back, Jessica and Justin Lange said they would like someone to come forward so they can at least know why it happened.
They said they can't think of a reason why a person would want to do this to them and they've never had a neighbor express a problem with their dog. While he liked to chase and bark at cars, Justin Lange described his dog as old, gentle and harmless.