UPDATE: Rains County attorney Robert Vititow said this afternoon that the deputy involved in the shooting has been terminated. His actions are being investigated for possible criminal charges.
RAINS COUNTY (KYTX) - This working farm belongs to Cole Middleton and his wife. If you ask them they're going to tell you the employee of the year, hands down, is Candy, their Blue Heeler cow dog. Two years old. But they say she was shot to death basically just for barking.
An autopsy reveals Candy, dog of the Middleton family, had a bullet wound on her right ear. Kevin Bankston, DVM with Hopkins Co. Veterinary Clinic, says his results show the dog was shot from the back of the head towards the nose while retreating from a shooter.
Under an East Texas shade tree there's a fresh grave and the start of a carving that will read Candy. Six days later Cole Middleton still can't believe she's gone because to him Candy was everything.
"If you just had one cow to get and it wasn't going to take long, if you didn't let her out of that truck to let her help load that cow, she would just whine. 'Ooh, ooh, please let me out daddy,' you know, she wanted out and wanted to work."
She'd grown up on the farm. and she was there to work on Friday when Middleton discovered his home burglarized.
"Stole my firearms, stole some of my wife's jewelry."
Hours later a deputy came to the house.
"The officer pulls up, and she's barking like any good dog would do. To let you know someone's here."
But Candy's message was lost in translation and that deputy shot her.
"Just no. No! I just couldn't believe it. It was like a bad dream. You've been robbed and now they come and they shoot your dog. Your child."
In a video Middleton shot during the aftermath the deputy admits he did it.
"I feel bad about shooting your dog. I had no choice. I wasn't going to get bit!"
The department released a statement saying: "We would most importantly like to offer our condolences to the Middleton family --as they have suffered a hard loss. The Rains County Sheriff's office has never encountered an issue of this nature -- but plan to make positive changes for the future."
"Nobody seemed to care. They automatically took his side."
Middleton hopes the deputy faces criminal charges.
"She's laying right here in the yard and she's just on her death bed. She's taking her final breaths and I plead with him 'please, my guns were stolen. I can't, I can't do anything about this. Please put her out of her misery. Shoot her again.' And he wouldn't do it."
Middleton's not sure whether dogs have souls, but he buried her under that tree hoping candy did.
"And I buried her facing the East. Because I believe that one day Christ will come back and when he does he'll come from the East."
"If it is even possible to find a silver lining in a story like this, it would be the fact that it has touched so many people. There's a new facebook page dedicated to Candy that has garnered more than 11,0000 likes in less than 48 hours. And meanwhile Middleton says he has received calls from as far away as Canada from people just wanting to show their support.