“I am so very heartbroken,” the Facebook message by Krissy Dashner began on Sunday. “My beautiful Walle was shot to death tonight.”
On Thursday, a neighbor of Dashner’s was charged for killing Walle, a golden retriever puppy, after the dog went on the neighbor’s property, according to the Lakeville, Massachusetts, Police Department.
Police charged Mark Vasseur, 61, with malicious killing/injury of a domestic animal, according to a department press release posted to Facebook.
Vasseur will be arraigned in Wareham District Court at a date to be determined, police said.
This heartbreaking tale began on Sunday evening around five, when Dashner, 27, and her husband, Pat Bates, 30, let Walle, their gentle 1-year-old golden, and their German shepherd Zeke, also 1, out for a romp on their nine-acre Lakeville, Massachusetts property.
When the puppy duo disappeared into the woods, Bates searched for the pair, calling out their names.
“Then we heard five gunshots,” Dashner tells PEOPLE. “We kind of panicked and I had a sinking feeling.”
Zeke came right back. Bates continued searching for Walle.
After Zeke returned, an animal control officer and the police arrived at Dashner’s home to tell the couple that their neighbor had shot Walle in his backyard because the dogs were running around his chicken coop.
“The officers said none of the chickens are injured,” says Dashner, “they were all in the coop.”
The neighbor, Mark Vasseur, told a Boston TV station that he shot Walle five times in self-defense, that the dog was threatening him.
“I had no choice,” Vasseur told CBS Boston. “I had to shoot the dog because I’m not going to get bit.”
A woman who answered the phone at a number believed to be Vasseur’s hung up on PEOPLE when asked for comment.
“This dog didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Dashner says. Walle’s favorite activity was cuddling on the sofa with the couple and their 3-month-old son.
“We’ve had the mailman come down our driveway and the dogs jump in the truck with the mailman, Walle’s gotten into a pizza delivery guy’s truck,” Dashner says. “They have never shown any aggression to anyone.”
Dashner, an emergency room nurse, is heartbroken.
“I was putting clothes away in the closet,” she says, “and Zeke was following me around and Walle used to sleep on the floor of the closet and we both sat on the floor and cried. Zeke was crying. It’s hard.”