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Man is arrested in shooting of dog

Police arrested a 36-year-old man after he fatally shot his estranged wife's dog Sunday.

He said it had become too aggressive.

John M. Avery was charged with felony cruelty to animals _ charges that both he and his wife called excessive.

Avery said he fired two shotgun blasts into Ralph, an 18-month-old mixed breed, because of its behavior. He said the dog had been barking for six hours before the shooting and had recently attacked his children.

"Ralph had bitten both my twin boys about two weeks ago, and he bit me while I was trying to get him in the truck to take him off," Avery told the Ocala Star-Banner. "After he bit me, I had to shoot him because he had been getting very aggressive lately."

"I feel if my (estranged) husband felt it necessary to kill the dog, then it was necessary to kill the dog," Rhonda Avery said.

But police is this town 63 miles northwest of Orlando said Avery should have taken Ralph to the pound or vet to be euthanized. Shooting him violated state law, they said.

"The dog is a domesticated animal," Lt. Carmen Sirolli said. "It's not a wild animal, like a raccoon, you shoot because it keeps getting into your trash cans and you are not sure if it carries a disease. The bottom line is the animal died a cruel death in accordance with Florida statutes."