Man’s best friend is a protective creature, and sometimes that protective instinct can lead to tragedy.

Sheriff’s deputies in Wise County, Virginia, were trying to serve a warrant on Saturday, when they went to the home of Paul Carico, WCYB-TV reported.

Carico said he told the cops he didn’t know the man they were looking for, but deputies pressed the issue. That’s when Carico’s pit bull, De’Ja, got involved.

De'Ja. (Image via WCYB-TV)

Paul Carico said his pit bull De’Ja charged police when they got “threatening.”. (Image via WCYB-TV)

“[A deputy] came with a threatening approach up my steps,” Carico told WCYB, “and the dog was not going to stand for that, she got by me.”

Deputies reportedly told Carico to call off De’Ja, but the confrontation spun out of control.

“I’m crawling trying to get my dog,” Carico said. “Before I could get out of the grass, he’d already fired and shot her.”

Paul Carico. (Image via WCYB-TV)

Paul Carico. (Image via WCYB-TV)

WCYB reporters reviewed the dashcam footage from the incident (which the sheriff’s office would not publicly release) and confirmed that De’ja charged the cops — while Carico begged them not to shoot.

De’Ja was killed in the incident. Carico buried her in his yard.

Local law enforcement told WCYB that deputies were justified in shooting the charging dog, but for Carico, the incident was an unwarranted tragedy.

“My dog was like a family member,” he said. “I mean, we loved her. I love her.”

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