Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Two more. First, from Indiana:

An Elkhart County police officer shot a dog to death early Saturday afternoon. He claims the animal was charging at him, but the owner says that’s not the case.

Police went to the house in the 14000 block of County Road 36 to investigate a minor traffic incident that occurred earlier in the day. But before the officer got to the door, he shot and killed the family pet.

At the quiet country home east of Goshen, you can seldom hear anything but the wind blowing through the trees. But that peace and quiet was shattered by the bullet from the gun of an Elkhart County sheriff’s deputy.

The aftermath was caught on a cellphone video. You can hear a friend of the dog owner asking why the dog was shot and the police officer replying that the dog had attacked him. The officer then asks if he should leave and the homeowner tells him yes.

“It’s a family member and to just see something like that is something you’re just not going to forget,” said the owner of the dog, Josh Bender, “My dog’s name was Charlie. He was a red heeler lab mix dog. He was a pretty cool little guy. He loved to play fetch. He was always playing fetch, always.”

Bender watched as Charlie died from a gunshot. Only minutes earlier he was sitting down to eat lunch when he heard his two dogs barking in his driveway. His wife told him a police officer was pulling up. But before Josh could walk outside, Charlie had been shot.

“I was just getting ready to come out the door and I heard a pop,” Bender said, “I looked out the door and saw my dog flailing around here with blood everywhere and a police officer standing there with a look on his face like ‘what did I do?'”

And from Austin, Texas:

The fatal shooting of a pet dog by an Austin Police Department officer over the weekend is sparking outrage near and far.

As of Monday evening, close to 22,000 people had hit the “Like” button on a Facebook page called “Justice for Cisco,” the name of  Austinite Michael Paxton’s dog, which was killed by an officer.

On Saturday afternoon, a passerby called 911 around 4:30 to report a domestic disturbance.

What the responding officer, APD Officer Thomas Griffin, didn’t know when he arrived minutes later is that the 911 caller mistakenly gave the wrong address.

Upon arrival, the first person Officer Griffin encountered was Michael Paxton and his blue heeler, named Cisco.

Austin police confirmed Monday that Officer Griffin got out of his patrol car with his weapon drawn.

In audio captured on Officer Griffin’s dashboard camera, you can hear the officer give Paxton commands to put his hands up and to control his dog. Austin police removed a few seconds of the tape where Griffin fatally shoots the dog.

“Why didn’t you get your dog when I told you to get your dog?” questioned Officer Griffin.

I didn’t know! You just came around the corner and told me to put my hands up. What am I supposed to do?” replied Paxton.

Good question. A spokesman said the Austin Police Department doesn’t have a policy when it comes to shooting dogs. Which is precisely the problem. Also, how in the world do they get away with removing the audio of the actual shooting?

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54 Responses to “Puppycide”

  1. #1 |  Charlie O | 

    @44. Love it. That’s a billboard I would happily help pay for.

  2. #2 |  Classical Values » When I was a kid, real men didn’t shoot the family dog | 

    […] via Radley Balko, who also links yet another […]

  3. #3 |  Belle Waring | 

    Just skipping to the end of the thread, so I apologize if matters have moved on, but WTF? Why are you always intent upon ruining my day, Mr. Balko? And why do I, knowing full well you’re about to make me miserable, just come running back for more? A Lab mix? I think the pregnant Chihuahua took the cake, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never been afraid of a lab.

    I always think about the time some friends of mine and I broke into a very old graveyard in Queens (cough*statute of limitations*cough) by lying on our backs and shimmying under the steel wall (it was that or over the razor wire). Suddenly this pack of feral dogs came running up to us, barreling out of the woods, snarling and barking–we figured later they were living with some homeless people in the back of the graveyard, which was all overgrown with trees (earliest graves were in the 1600s). We weren’t getting out the way we came in. OK, some were Lab mixes so I guess I have to take that back; some Pit Bulls; some mystery mutts. My two male friends were paralyzed, and obviously we weren’t all wearing Kevlar and carrying stun guns. I was not a large person at 18.

    I stepped forward and said with all my South Carolina conviction “BAD DOGS! BAD! YOU STOP! Stop right there! You all just stop there and stop making trouble! YOU ARE BEING BAD!” They all stopped, some sat down in case I was going to ask, and then they ran away. Maybe they should train cops in yelling “bad dog.” Though, to be fair, in most of these cases the dog is being good: defending their owner’s property from strangers who smell like they are angry, scared, and mean to do bad things. That’s the dogs’ job.

  4. #4 |  qwints | 

    For what it’s worth, APD has issued an apology of sorts for the shooting: http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/acevedo-vile-threats-aimed-at-apd.