Neighbor fatally shoots therapy dogs belonging to Marine Corps veteran, cancer survivor

SOUTH MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida man shot and killed his neighbors’ German Shepherd, used to comfort a military veteran with PTSD, and a pit bull, who comforted a woman while she battled stage three breast cancer.

According to police, the couple, Antonio and Yamilla Frederick, told Miami-Dade Police that their irate neighbor shot and killed two of their dogs in their front yard while their children were present.

The family woke up to the sounds of gunfire, Sunday morning. When they walked outside, they found two of their beloved dogs suffering from gunshot wounds.

Police were immediately called to the scene where they arrested the couple’s neighbor, Jose Rocha, for animal cruelty.

Police said it all started when the Fredericks’ pit bull mix, Thor, entered Rocha’s property through an opening in a wooden fence. Once he saw the dog, he went into his bedroom and retrieved a Colt 45 semi-automatic firearm.

The Fredericks said, once Rocha stepped outside with the loaded gun, he fired four gunshots into the pit bull, striking the dog in his right side. After shrieking in pain, the dog owners said, the pit bull died in the yard.

The neighbor then shot the German Shepherd, Buffy, who was on the opposite side of the fence, in the Fredericks’ yard. The German Shepherd died at around the same time as the pit bull.

“For someone to get so upset to cause them harm, not knowing what they mean to me or my husband or my children, it is not fair,” Yamilla said.

“I’ve known Buffy since I was 3, and I’m going to miss her and Thor,” their daughter said.

Rocha told police the dogs came on his property but that he was not aggressive. The arrest report says he told police he was “just shooting to scare them.”

Antonio said Buffy was his emotional support after he was hurt serving in the military.

“This is my retirement right here from the Marine Corps,” Antonio said. “She would help me with sleeping, when I was depressed and whatnot. She would come and put her paw on me, put a lick on me.”

Yamilla told 7News her dog helped her cope throughout her battle with Stage 3 breast cancer. “I had a bilateral mastectomy, and I’m on hormone pills, and the dog just helped me go through everything when I was home alone,” she said. “The dog kept me company.”

The husband and wife have a daughter together and a third dog, Isabella, which was not shot.

“It is beyond belief hard. The pain I went through yesterday seeing Buffy like that,” Antonio said.

The neighbor was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and one count of using a firearm to commit a felony. He later bonded out of jail.

“The dog did something most people don’t understand unless they go through it,” Yamille said.

The Fredericks said, after this, they want to move out of the neighborhood.

“I feel naked,” Yamille said. “Being through cancer, it is hard enough. The doctors take everything away from you.”

A 7News reporter knocked on the door of Rocha’s home, but no one answered. A sign on the window of his home stated, “Trespassing violators will be shot and survivors will be shot again.”

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