A family in New Jersey is mourning their family dog after a hunter killed the one-year-old Alaskan Shepherd with a crossbow. Elizabeth Mongno was returning home with Tonka, walking behind her Readington Township home when the dog suddenly chased a deer into the woods. Mongno said she suddenly heard a “pop” sound and her dog yelping and on approaching the Alaskan Shepherd, found the dog lying on the ground just 50 feet from her property.

Dog owner screams as she finds her shot dog

Mongno said as soon as she found Tonka, she started screaming, demanding to know who killed her dog.

The hunter was later identified by state officials as being a coyote hunter, Romeo Antonucci, of Kenilworth, NJ. Antonucci is now facing charges of careless discharge, a deer-tagging violation and damage to property. According to authorities, Antonucci is a licensed hunter with the correct permission to be in some of the wooded areas, but not in the area where the family pet was killed.

Hunter claims he thought the dog was a coyote

While Antonucci claims he believed the Alaskan Shepherd dog to be a coyote, Mongno disputes this claim, stating the large size of the dog, plus his white color and the fact he was wearing a collar clearly does not make him look like a coyote.

She also said at the time the hunter shot the dog, she was calling Tonka’s name. Mongno added that her husband is a hunter, and she doesn’t support a ban on hunting. However, she said Antonucci is no hunter and doesn’t represent them in any way – she told NJ.com that the man rather represents “bad decision-making.”

Mongno said hunters should abide by the rules, which require them to keep at least 150 feet away from people’s residences.

She said her children, a nine-year-old boy, and a three-year-old girl, who is deaf, play in that area and she is concerned about their safety after the incident. She also said her neighbor’s children were playing on tricycles in the area when Tonka was killed.

As reported by the New York Daily News, Mongno said she has the right to know who is in the woods surrounding her property, or near her children, adding if she had known someone was out there with a weapon, she would have been more cautious.

She also added that the whole family is mourning the loss of the beloved family pet and that her son has stayed away from school since it happened.

Montgo headed to Facebook to make a post announcing Tonka’s death, saying they are in mourning and that everyone in the Mongno house is “broken.” In the post, she mentioned that a witness had seen Tonka running after the deer when he suddenly stopped, probably about to turn around and head home, when the hunter shot and killed him.

Mongno went on to describe Tonka's “lovable, goofy personality” that made everyone happy, adding he was a “one of a kind dog” that they miss so much.