HOUSTON -

A patrolman in River Oaks shot a family's dog.

The family said the patrolman knocked on their door on Saturday at 10:20 a.m. to ask about a car parked on the street.

The family's dog, Bue, got out. Bue is a Weimaraner. Neighbors said even though he's big, he's a gentle giant.

Kay Zeidman lives across the street on Chilton. She and her son, Jay, were outside Saturday morning when the shooting happened.

"We knew it was a gunshot and it was terrifying," she said. "The dog was fighting for its life. It was screaming and crying a terrible sound."

Neighbors said the patrolman and the dog were about 12 to 15 feet away from each other in front of the house. They said the dog was in the flowerbed.

Witnesses said the patrolman seemed to be afraid of the dog and he grabbed the homeowner to put her between him and the dog. Bue started to bark and the patrolman fired his weapon, according to witnesses.

Bue had to have his right front leg and shoulder amputated. He is in critical condition.

"It's a great neighborhood to live in and our patrol takes good care of everybody. I'm sad for everybody," Zeidman said.

River Oaks Patrol did not return calls for comment.

People in the neighborhood said most of the River Oaks patrolmen carry guns. They are licensed security guards and not police officers. Neighbors said they are going to talk to their homeowner's group about possibly putting a new plan in place that requires the patrolmen to use pepper spray or something less violent to control dogs.