When popular cartoon Family Guy decided to kill off one of the show's core cast - namely loveable family dog Brian Griffin - the producers could not have anticipated the controversy that would be stirred up. Turns out that after nearly 15 years of Family Guy, fans feel like they have some kind of ownership of the show and have put their foot down this time.

Family Guy Brian Stewie
R.I.P. Brian Griffin.

In an episode aired over the weekend, beloved pooch and writer Brian (voiced by Seth Macfarlane) was brutally taken from the show after being hit by a car. He died under the family's watch on an operating table when doctors just couldn't save him. However, in typical Family Guy blunt style, no sooner than Brian had died than he'd been replaced with a straight-talking, tough dog Vinny, voiced by The Sopranos Tony Sirico.

Family Guy executive producer Steve Callaghan described the decision as "an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up." He explained, "As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters," via E! Online.

Watch A Clip Of Vinny:

In reaction to the shocking storyline, fan Aaron Thompson has launched a petition that has gained nearly 26,000 signatures in protesting that Brian Griffin should be brought back into the show. Thompson writes "Brian Griffin was an important part of our viewing experince. He added a witty and sophisticated element to the show. Family Guy and Fox Broadcasting will lose viewers if Brian Griffin is not brought back to the show.

"The writers of family guy didn't just kill off one of their creations, they killed off the dog who has lived in our homes for the last 15 years. They killed the dog we all have come to love. They killed America's dog!" he continues.

Family Guy
How Will Brian's Absence Affect The Rest Of The Family's Dynamic?

To those who are worried about the gaping hole that will be left in the cast: Vinny seems like quite the character himself. "Where Brian was sort of a match for Stewie intellectually, Vinny is a good match for Stewie because he doesn't let Stewie get away with any crap. He'll call Stewie out on his b.s. freely," said Callaghan.

With various cloning and time travelling episodes having previously been made, we wouldn't be surprised if Brian will return for the one-off episode. We live in hope!