Police: Man shoots, kills neighbor's health dog

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Westside man has been arrested for shooting a neighbor's beloved health dog as the animal was wandering in his driveway, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Channel 4 first introduced Sloopy to viewers in February 2011.

Regina Ebey said Sloopy would wake her up at night whenever she stopped breathing. Ebey said Sloopy has saved her life twice, but Saturday morning, police said, Ebey's neighbor shot the dog while it was in the yard.

Police said the Ebeys moved into the home in the 6900 block of Juliet Court the night before.

The shooting happened when Ross Ebey, Regina's husband, went outside to smoke a cigarette at about 7:45 a.m. and let Sloopy out with him, police said.

"The first night they were here was Friday night. Saturday morning, first thing out the door the man at the end of the street shot and killed it right there," said neighbor Steve Sykes.

According to a police report, the Jack Russell and black lab mix went next door and was sniffing around in the driveway when Ebey saw the dog and started calling for him. Police said Sloopy was not barking or anything of that sort.

Officers said 57-year-old Kenneth Martin then opened up the front door of his home and shot Sloopy from inside the house.

"My father-in-law was standing right there. So if he'd missed the dog, he'd have hit my father-in-law," said Alex Ebey.

Ross Ebey walked over to the driveway, and Martin opened up the door and said, "Don't call the law. I have a bad heart," according to the police report.

Martin (pictured below) went back inside, then came back out and put Sloopy in a green container, police said. When officers arrived, Martin told them, "I have made the biggest mistake of my life. I have no reason for what I have done."

Police saw the dog's body in the container. They said they went inside the home to recover the shotgun, and Martin told them he loaded one round of Federal birdshot to shoot the dog.

Police said the ammunition they found was for law enforcement use. They said they found the spent shell casing inside a garbage can.

Martin told police he found the ammunition on the Internet, authorities said.

Martin was arrested and booked into the Duval County jail on charges of cruelty to animals and discharging a firearm in public.

Alex Ebey said her mother-in-law moved into the neighborhood to be closer to her family because of her poor health.

"She was trying to make it easier on her heart, and now she's lived here eight hours and has a broken heart," Ebey said.

The Ebey family said Regina was too upset to talk on camera Tuesday night.

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