A South Austin man is seeking justice after finding his beloved dog shot dead near his home.

Will Russell said he was on the phone with a customer service representative for a few hours on Dec. 29 when he noticed something strange: Ed, his eight-year-old German shepherd mix, wasn't there.

"At the end of the call, I realized he came out of the doggy door and had not come back inside," Russell said.

He spent the next few hours searching the area near his home on Cherry Meadow Drive.

"I walked up and down the creek [behind my house], and it got dark and I couldn't see," he said.

He drove around and looked for Ed until the early morning hours, but he couldn't find him. The following morning, he searched again the area near a railroad track behind his home.

"I found him just four or five houses down," he said.

Ed's frozen body was in a ditch with what Russell said was a gunshot wound.

"It was a really, really sour hour here in the ditch by myself, just coming to terms with someone murdering my dog in a really malicious, evil kind of way," he said. "I can't go on on how much I miss him. [My] heart's broken."

Will Russell said he purchased Ed as soon as he got out of the military and moved to Austin.

Now, he wants whoever did this to pay the consequences.

"To shoot someone's pet like that -- with a collar -- that you've definitely seen walking around the neighborhood and see in my front yard every day when I'm working ... [that's] a sick person," he said.

He has a warning for fellow dog owners.

"Keep 'em close. Even if it's just 15 minutes and you're used to him coming back, you gotta go look for him," Russell said. "Anything can happen."

Russell filed a police report with the Austin Police Department. According to the report, the case is being investigated as animal cruelty, but a detective has not been assigned to it yet.

According to Texas penal code, you can be charged with a felony for killing or seriously injuring an animal.

If convicted, you can face a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail, according to the SPCA of Texas.

Call Austin PD at 512-974-2000 if you have any information about this case.