DOVER (FOX 13) - A Hillsborough County family was unexpectedly caught in the middle of a police pursuit when a suspect ran through their backyard and then shot their dog.
The homeowner was not caught completely off guard, though. He chased the suspect into a swampy area where he and his alleged accomplice were arrested.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says it all started when a patrol deputy spotted a possible stolen vehicle near Milagro Court and Blackjack Road around 1 p.m. in Dover.
The deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver took off. The deputy says the vehicle ran a stop sign, but then slowed down and two men jumped out.
The suspects ran through several fenced yards before being confronted by a homeowner's dog.
The homeowner, Jim Ryans says the suspect shot his dog Roscoe in the face from only six inches back.
"[I] just couldn't let them get away with it," Ryans told FOX 13 News. "I didn't even have shoes or nothing. They had guns but I was still going to get them."
Ryans ran after the suspects who hid in a nearby swamp. That's where deputies with K9s caught up and arrested Thomas Nolasco and Jonathan Lozada.
Meanwhile, Roscoe hid under Ryans' house.
Hillsborough County Pet Resources is helping get Roscoe the care he needs. Ryans said this is actually the third time Roscoe has been shot. He's hopeful his loyal companion will pull through.