YORK — A hunter has been charged with fatally shooting a family’s dog in southern Maine.

Thirty-nine-year-old Gregory Brown says he mistook the dog for a coyote.

Matthew and Heather Henriksen of York say their 5-year-old mixed-breed dog bled to death on Dec. 27 after a bullet from a .22-caliber rifle severed an artery on her back leg. They say they were walking with the dog on a trail behind their home when the dog ran ahead and was shot.

The Portsmouth Herald reported that Brown told wardens he was hunting red squirrels in a wooded area behind the Henriksens’ home when he mistook the dog for a coyote. It’s legal to hunt red squirrels and coyotes year-round.

The Maine Warden Service says Brown faces criminal charges that carry a fine.