A Michigan police officer shot and killed a 10-month-old puppy this week as he pursued a suspect through several yards in a Redford Township neighborhood.
According to the dog’s owner, Bianca Alakson, police ignored the “beware of dog” sign on her backyard fence early Sunday morning as they entered onto the property. After reaching her backyard, one officer claims to have been “charged” by the puppy.
“I didn’t know what had happened at first, I just heard ‘pop, pop’,” said Alakson’s boyfriend, Ryan Showalter.
Police claim the officer “feared for his safety” and had no choice but to shoot the puppy twice after it would not stop “advancing.”
“Everyone here loves animals, it’s the last thing we want to do but we have to protect ourselves,” a police spokesperson said.
Showalter refuted the officer’s claim that his puppy was dangerous, saying the dog had no history of violence whatsoever.
“He wasn’t the protector of the house type dog either, he was just the great everybody and love them to death type dog,” Showalter said.
Although police say the shooting was strictly based on officer safety, Showalter says the officer had a different explanation on scene.
“I asked him why and he said, ‘because he was in our way’,” Showalter explained.
Incredibly, officers then arrested Showalter, accusing him of interfering with police on his own property.
“They tried to tell me that I was resisting arrest,” Showalter said. “I was breaking down hysterically in the back seat of the cop car, crying, I didn’t know what to do.”
Showalter was later bailed out of jail by Alakson and is still awaiting charges from police.
Although instances of police helping dogs do appear, such as the recent case of a California officer rescuing a Chihuahua from a busy highway, they are greatly outnumbered by situations where officers use deadly force.
Earlier this month, A Pennsylvania state trooper wildly fired at a family’s dog only feet from a 5-year-old’s bedroom window. Although officer’s claimed the dog was charging as well, the dog’s owner argued that the bullet wounds, which were all in the dog’s side, proved that the dog was not running towards them.
An Oklahoma police officer shot and killed a family’s dog last March and reportedly bragged to animal control how the event was “awesome.” According to reports, the offending officer has received numerous complaints from fellow cops as well as citizens.
Last February, an officer in Idaho was cleared of wrongdoing after killing a man’s service dog outside a 9-year-old’s birthday party. The incident, captured by the police vehicle’s dash cam, showed the officer kicking at the dog several times before he opened fire.
In 2012, a police officer in Austin, Texas shot and killed a dog as it played Frisbee with its owner. The officer would later learn that he had responded to the wrong home on a domestic disturbance call.
Also in 2012, a Texas cop fatally shot a dog as it sat on the porch outside its home, causing several bullets to go through the home’s walls. The officer proceeded by killing a second dog that was tied up in the backyard.
Even though some statistics point to American police killing a dog every 98 minutes, officers are not always successful. Just last month, a California sheriff’s deputy shot himself while attempting to kill a fenced-in dog. Although the deputy claimed that the dog had tried to attack him, the dog was later seen playing with small children in the neighborhood.