A pet dog was shot dead by a man after it was mistaken for a fox. The incident took place in Derbyshire, England, on Wednesday.

Rory Brown said he had taken his brother’s 18-month-old cocker spaniel named Ruby for a walk when the incident took place. Brown said the canine ran into a bush after he removed its leash and moments later, he heard a gunshot. As he ran into the bush to see if the dog was fine, a man told him, “I think I’ve shot your dog.” Brown immediately rushed Ruby to a nearby animal hospital where the canine was declared brought dead.

Calling the incident “gut-wrenching,” 28-year-old Dom, the dog’s owner, said, “We’re totally heartbroken because we’re always in and always at home so we spent so much time with her. Basically our lives revolved around her. She’d always want to be out walking or playing with her toys in the house. She was the happiest dog I’ve ever seen.”

“She was my reason to get up in the morning and she was everything to me and my family and now she’s just gone. You can’t just replace a dog, can you? She was like a human to me. Within the space of 15 minutes she’s gone. I didn’t have the choice to put her down or spend a last few minutes with her. I’d do anything just to spend a bit more time with her,” he continued.

Dom took to Facebook to seek public help in finding the culprit. "My brother was walking her down the public footpath next to my house on Sherwood Drive Crich, being her usual self sniffing around in the bushes. A young lad with a 410 shotgun and a black Labrador shot her dead claiming he mistook her for a fox. Please if you are this young lad or know him please come forward as the police need to know the details," Dom wrote.

Meanwhile, Brown said it could have been a human being in place of the dog.

“He literally had no reason to shoot her. She wasn’t causing harm to anyone or bothering anything. She was just having fun in the field. For me he was an inexperienced lad with an extremely powerful weapon that could have killed somebody. You know what kids are like with dogs. I see families walking their dogs on that field all the time. Kids are best friends with dogs, they could have been playing in the bush with that dog. It could have hit them. At the end of the day he’s got an extremely powerful gun and in my opinion he’s quite clearly not very good at using it. It’s very reckless,” Brown said.

Police were investigating the incident and no arrests were made as of Sunday.

In this image, a dog's paw reaches through the kennel fence at the Queen Anne's County Department of Animal Service in Queenstown, Maryland, Jan. 24, 2008. Getty Images/Jim Watson