Maryland deputy shoots groundhog crossing street in viral video

A groundhog crossing a busy Maryland road never made it to the other side after an encounter with a deputy who whipped out his gun and put the critter down with a single bullet — an incident that was all caught on video.

Fox 45 Baltimore reports that Justyna Olkowska posted the video on her Facebook page Sunday and wrote, "This just happened. And I’m soooo distraught."

"Like I cannot believe I just witnessed this," she said. "If you’re not an animal lover, you won’t understand my pain. I may be wrong and he might have been doing his job but all I kept thinking was what if my little niece and nephew were in the car with me seeing this."

The video had been viewed more than 79,000 times as of Tuesday.

The groundhog met its fate on a road Sunday in Skykesville, about 20 miles northwest of Baltimore, according to the station.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement saying the deputy’s actions were appropriate, the station reported.

"He found that the groundhog in question was walking into the roadway, causing vehicles to stop and creating a hazard," the statement said. "He got out of his vehicle to assess, and as he tried to direct the groundhog off of the roadway, he realized that it was not responding as expected for an animal that was not being cornered or trapped."

The statement added: "Believing the groundhog to be either sick or injured, the deputy then put the animal down for the public's safety."