“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”

Cop Shoots Dog Near Alvord Lake

If you were watching our twitter feed yesterday, you saw that an SFPD officer fired two shots at a dog at the entrance to Golden Gate Park. We spoke to witnesses.
Yesterday, between 4 and 5 p.m., at Haight and Stanyan near Alvord Lake, where all the street kids hang out, a man was sleeping, and while he was asleep, his dog got away from him. The dog got “too close” to an officer, and the officer shot twice, killing the dog. We couldn’t confirm that the dog was being aggressive, or even barking.
Animal Control, Rangers from Rec & Park, and the SFPD were all called to the scene. When Animal Control carried the dog into the truck, the street kids formed a gauntlet for the SFPD and Animal Control officers to walk through, and they were heard shouting “Congratulations! You got him!” at the police.
We pieced the story together from two bystanders, Heather and Alan. Heather is ex-Marines Corps, and she heard the shots fired while watching kids playing roughly 300 yards away on the other side of the bridge in the soccer field, so she ran over to see what was happening.
Alan was walking on Stanyan Street and noticed 15 officers, 3 cop cars, and two bicycle cops at the entrance to Golden Gate Park. He spoke to an officer on the scene who told him the SFPD would issue a press release about the incident. As of this writing, there has been no press release.

Ogden police shoot, kill dog during burglary investigation

OGDEN, Utah (AP) - Ogden police say a dog was shot dead after it charged at officers during a burglary call.
Ogden Police Deputy Director John Harvey says the encounter happened while officers were responding to the 500 block of 7th Street about 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Harvey says a woman who'd called police to report hearing suspicious noises was standing outside the home with a German shepherd mix dog.
Harvey says the dog went into attack mode, and an officer fired two shots when it got within 10 feet of them.
Harvey says the dog's owners haven't filed a formal complaint with police, but the incident will be reviewed internally.
It's the second time Ogden police have shot a dog this month. Another one was killed March 3.

Homeowner Reports Burglary, Police Shoot Her Dog

The most recent case occurred late Friday night when Michelle Merila called police to her home at 597 7th Street, reporting a burglary in progress.
When police arrived they didn’t find a suspect but instead found Merila out front with her two bulldogs and a German shepherd named “Jesse.”
“The officer indicated the two dogs on the porch did not indicate they were going to attack but the other dog, he actually gave voice commands to and told it to get back on the porch,” said Ogden Deputy Director John Harvey. “The dog turned around, went a few steps then turned back to him and ultimately attacked and the officer defended himself.”
Merila tells a different story.
“The cop was standing there and he says ‘get your dog or I’m gonna shoot her’ and and as I’m walking up ‘boom, boom’ he shot the dog, didn’t have any reason, the dog wasn’t going after him anymore, she had stopped,” Merila said.

Ogden Police Shoot And Kill Dog

(KUTV) Police responding to a burglary shot and killed a dog Friday night. The incident occurred in the 500 block of 7th Street around 11:30 p.m.
Police say the dog threatened officers while responding to a burglary in-progress. The officers walked up to the residence, where a man was outside the home with a dog. The dog began barking and then charged.
One of the officers fired two shots at the dog from about 10 feet away. The dog's owner has not formally filed a complaint but the incident is under investigation. Ogden police shot another dog on March 3.

Rochester, NY Police officer Shoots Family’s Dog in the Face

Teddy Padilla remembers his wife Ada calling him, but it’s what she told him which still seems surreal.
“They police shot Choco!”, Ada told her husband, who raced home to find Rochester, NY Police officers in front of his 97 Bleacker St. home, on Rochester’s east side.
“I pull up to my home and I get out and the first thing I ask the officers is what’s going on, and the officer tells me we had to shoot your dog” Teddy Padilla, his grey long sleeve shirt showing smears of his Choco’s blood.
“I said what do you mean you shot my dog, and the officer, very nonchalant says ‘yep, we had to shoot your dog’, I couldn’t believe it.”
Here’s what is known.
Around 6:00 p.m., Ada Padilla was in her home when she heard Choco, a pit bull terrier, barking.
Ada then looked out of an upstairs window and saw a Rochester Police cruiser in front of the house.
“I ran downstairs and the officer was saying ‘Get your dog, get your dog’, and I said to him I’m trying, but the officer kept moving all over the place, then Choco ran in the house and the officer walked up as if to talk to me and Choco came back out but he was never aggressive and he never charged at the officer, it was more like he was excited but not aggressive and then the officer that had stayed inside the police car all this time got out of the car, walked up, took out his gun and shot Choco”, said Ada Padilla.
“Then Choco ran inside the house crying and bleeding from his mouth, there was blood everywhere, and he ran inside his crate, scared.”
The Padillas rushed Choco to the Emergency Veterinary Clinic on White Spruce Blvd., where Choco underwent emergency surgery, which will cost the family between $950.00 and $1,200.00.
There are people who own dogs who should not own dogs.
Then there are people like the Padillas.
Responsible, loving, dog owners.
I’m sure the RPD officers thought that Choco was just another pit bull in the city.
They were wrong.
Very wrong.
Choco is licensed and registered.
Choco is not just a dog.
He is a member of the Padilla family.
And it shows.
At the clinic, the Padillas were besides themselves, completely distraught.
When I first spoke with Teddy Padilla, on the phone, he was crying, telling me “They shot my dog, they shot my dog, I love my dog!”
Later, back at their home, I met with the Padillas, and I learned something very interesting.
Something which was yet more proof of just how responsible the Padillas are as pet owners.
Teddy Padilla told me that he had installed a 6 foot high fence on his property.
Then, the City of Rochester made him take it down, telling him that the fence could not be more than 3 feet tall.
Somehow, Choco got out of his yard Thursday evening.
Like dogs do.
And two Rochester, NY Police officers showed up.
Then, ironically, the officer who stayed in the patrol car, is the one who gets out and shoots an innocent family dog.
Not the primary officer who mistook an energetic dog, for a supposedly ‘aggressive’ one.
And just like that, another trigger-happy RPD officer shoots an innocent family dog.


A journalist should report that the Fairfax County cops arrested 2,600 people for drunk driving last year.  That is what a journalist should do. The role of the press, after all, is to report issues that need attention.  But the role of the press is also to publicly hold government leaders accountable to the people and that can’t be done if government is using the media as a tool for its own self-praise or if individuals in government are using the press as a means of self-promotion to advance their career, to say, police chief as an example.
The other vital role the press plays in a free society is to educate citizens so they can make informed decisions on pertinent issues and this is done by asking questions. As an example, in regard to the drunk driving story, a good journalist will ask, “How many of those arrests resulted in conviction?” because Fairfax County cops justify themselves through a body count. A good journalist would also ask:
“In how many of those cases did the cop fail to show up in court?"
“And how many of those cases were simply tossed out of court?”  
“Who was stopped? White people? Black people? Asians? Latinos? ” 
The good journalist should examine that side of the issue because racial profiling by the police is a serious national issue. 
The good journalist would also put the arrests in perspective. There are about 5,600,000 people in the greater Washington DC Area and in one year Fairfax County police arrested 0.0004 of them for drunk driving.  In a county of 1,200,000 citizens, the 2600 arrests would total less than 0.002% of the population.
Drunk driving arrests are down 2.5 nationwide in 2011 and 2012.  In fact, in the past two decades drunk driving fatalities have declined by 35% in the general population and almost 60% in the teen driver population.
So with those facts in mind, facts that were not covered in the story,  why were there so many Fairfax cops trying to arrest drunk drivers on a recent Saturday night, enough so that “the lights atop Fairfax County Police Department cruisers along Leesburg Pike lit up the night sky like swarms of blue fireflies".
Poor management seems to be the answer. Shouldn't the cops be doing something more productive and less intrusive to the community?  (A community where less than 9% of the force lives.)
 The summation of the drunk driving story appeared to be one of two things; one that the story was that drunk driving is a non-issue because arrests for drunk driving are down.  So what was the point of reporting this story at all?
The other slant may have been a cop glorification feature piece which was based on the baseless claim by the Fairfax County Police that they lowered drunk driving in the county through sobriety checkpoints, directed patrols and business compliance checks.
The problem is that slant discounts reality based on the facts above.
But there was a story here if the journalist had taken it one step further, one step into the uncomfortable,  and had asked the cops (and thereby the reading public) if they see any danger in randomly stopping citizens to find out what they can be arrested for.
A journalist should ask if those random “sobriety checkpoints” touted by the Fairfax County cops,  have a place in a democratic society. Should cops be stopping people they suspect of committing a crime based on magical and slightly scary “sixth sense” as one cop claimed to have, when it comes to spotting drunk drivers?   
Even more disturbing than that is the fact that the cop in question has an engineering degreefrom Virginia Tech but would have to work the third shift in a bedroom community “sensing” drunks on the road.
The journalist could have asked the obvious question…..if drunk driving barely scratches the judicial surface then why are the cops turning out in force to address this secondary  issue.  This could have led to two very obvious answers, both are generally assumed to be true by the general public.  One is that the cops are bored and don’t have much else to do and the other is money.   Drunk driving fines range from $250 to $1,000, ($625 average fine  X 2600 fines=$1,625,000). All of that revenue is poured into the county coffers and eventually into the behemoth budget of the Fairfax County Police.
Is there any truth to this commonly held rumor? We don’t know because the reporter failed to go that far. However, we do know that the cop who would rather work nights has a “lucky flower” in the car's visor. 
Move over Carl Bernstein, there’s a new gunslinger in these here parts.
But it was Bernstein who said it best. The reporter’s job is to "achieve the best obtainable version of the truth" and, I would add, the best obtainable version of the truth for the public’s good and not for the benefit of the government’s profile. It is crucial that the press be an outsider and never, ever, under any circumstances share the same aims as government, the legislature, religion or commerce. The only responsibility the reporter has is to their own standards and ethics.  This is no small thing because the free press is part of a larger right of free expression, a right that the public assumes that the press will help to protect.  
So in that light, a good journalist would ask “Is this story free PR for cops at the expense of the free press?”  And if the answer, even vaguely, appears to be “yes” then that is a very serious infringement on the role of the press in a free society and should not be taken lightly, no matter how innocuous the story.
The craft of reporting, and it is a craft, is found in the reporter's ability to research, to ask questions, to observe, to sift through self –serving propaganda disguised as news and then to place it in context so that the public can evaluate where the truth is. All of that makes the reporter the  community's witness to the process of government. Crossing the line makes the reporter part of the government. So what was this drunk driver story?
The press is a powerful instrument which must exist independently from the other main centers of power in society because, among other things, it is often in the best interests of those other power centers to control or quash the press.
This rule of separation is especially true in dealing with the well-heeled Fairfax County Police Department, which is widely considered to be the least transparent law enforcement agency in the state of Virginia. The Fairfax County Police have failed, repeatedly, to show that they understand the simple truth that the free flow of information is a civic responsibility because information, even when it makes a department look bad, is the fuel of democracy. Instead, the department has mastered the art of avoiding public scrutiny by simply refusing to deal with the press….unless the press wants to do a fluff & kisses piece about them. And that’s what is wrong with plopping down the non-issue drunk driving feature piece.  Reporting balanced news is vital to the health and well-being of a democracy as is the cop’s responsibility to inform the public that pays them. When journalists start backsliding down that very slippery slope by writing glory stories when the cops don’t deserve it, it is dangerous, unethical and sets a very bad precedent.  
It’s about integrity. If the reporter loses their integrity they have lost everything and they have lost it forever, for themselves and their publication and it is easy to lose integrity because the damn thing about a free press is that the fight to keep the press free never ends.  Rather it is a battle that is never won because the prize is much too valuable for other powers not to want to control it and to manipulate it.   And those battles to keep the free press free are rarely epic, rather they are tiny skirmishes, say, as an example, a police department noted for playing a one sided game, trying to get a local reporter to skim over the facts and avoid the comfortable questions and write what they want to see in print.  

Cop dogs’ miscues prove grisly, costly

Trained to “bite and hold” suspects, some K-9 patrol dogs in the Puget Sound area have bitten innocent bystanders more than once, inflicting major injuries and triggering expensive lawsuits.

By Mike Carter

Mark Roberts had fallen asleep in the family room of his Puyallup rambler, the windows open to take in the breeze of a mild September evening. He was jolted awake by the sound of a helicopter.

Roberts, clad in a T-shirt and boxers, walked out the back door and took a few steps into his driveway for a better look.

Seconds later, he was in a bloody life-or-death struggle with a beast with a badge.

“I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye,” recalled Roberts, 58, of the split-second before he was “flattened” by K-9 Officer Vasko, a police dog with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, that night in 2008.

Vasko, a big German shepherd, hit Roberts at full stride, knocking him to the ground. The snarling dog grabbed Roberts’ right thigh in its mouth and bit.

“The pain was something indescribable,” said Roberts. He screamed. “It was a sound I’d never heard before coming out of me.”

Roberts is not the only innocent bystander to be caught in the crushing grip of Vasko’s jaws.

Three people, including Roberts, have filed claims against Pierce County after being bitten by the dog. Two claims have cost Pierce County $352,500: the $350,000 settlement with Roberts earlier this y ear after he filed a federal lawsuit, and $2,500 awarded to a 53-year-old woman after she was bitten by Vasko while the dog was tracking a suspect, according to court documents.

A third claim, by a woman bitten by Vasko while she was painting a sign in 2010, is pending.

A Seattle Times review of dog-bite claims from the risk managers and insurers of more than 100 Washington cities and counties shows such incidents happen several times a year in the state.

Over the past five years, at least 17 people claim they were mistakenly attacked by police dogs from Western Washington law-enforcement agencies. As a result, the agencies have paid nearly $1million in damages, with several large claims pending.

In many cases, individual dogs are responsible for several attacks, an issue that dog trainers and experts say is a warning sign that the dog and handler might need additional training.

Of those 17 incidents, three dogs — two from Pierce County and one from Seattle — were responsible for nine of the incidents and more than two-thirds of the damages paid.

Even after multiple bites on innocent people, many K-9s remain on duty.

A Pierce County sheriff’s dog, K-9 Officer Cliff, has been named in three claims, which have cost the county $247,000. Those costs included a $230,000 settlement with Alda Zaldivar-Cira, 53, an Auburn landscaper who was attacked in August 2010 while he and his sons were attempting to help police capture a fleeing criminal.

Cliff also bit a 17-year-old Graham boy who was watching a police search from a friend’s driveway in 2008. According to court documents, deputies had to pry the dog’s mouth off the boy’s leg with a flashlight. Pierce County paid him $17,000.

Cliff was named in a third action after he severely bit a passenger in a car that police had been chasing. That was the same incident in which Roberts was attacked by Vasko, who also was involved in the search for the driver.

A federal judge dismissed the passenger’s civil-rights claim, finding that the bite was the “accidental effect of otherwise lawful government conduct.”

Sgt. Jerry Bates, a spokesman for Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor, said Cliff remains on the force.

Critics say the frequency and severity of bites on innocent people are tied directly to training. Most U.S. dogs are trained to “bite and hold,” releasing their prey only on orders from their handlers.

In Europe, dogs are trained to track prey, but rather than attack, they are taught to circle and bark at the target — a technique known as “find and bark” or “bark and contain.” The dog bites only if the suspect attempts to flee or the dog or handler is attacked.

Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the International Association of Chiefs of Police recommend this type of training for U.S. police dogs. However, there is resistance to the “find and bark” method among many law-enforcement agencies.

“K-9s, like any other tool issued to and used by law enforcement in the application of any force ... carry an inherent risk,” said Bates, the Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman.

“The decision to utilize a K-9 team for a wanted-felon search is not made lightly,” he said.

Bates said one way not to be injured by a dog is to do what the dog’s handler tells you to do.

That is, if the handler is around.

Alone in the grip

Roberts, the Puyallup man attacked outside his home, said Vasko’s attack lasted at least five minutes before the dog’s handler, Deputy Micah Lundborg, was able to locate him and call him off.

“He yelled at me, ‘Don’t fight the dog,’ Roberts recalled.

In the meantime, the dog inflicted a muscle-crushing wound to his right thigh that took nearly two years to heal. The dog also bit his left leg and worked its way from hand to biceps on his left arm, tearing flesh every inch of the way.

His wife and daughter awoke to find Roberts sitting in a pool of blood in the driveway.

“This was a life-or-death situation for me,” Roberts said.

Bates said Vasko retired when Lundborg was promoted.

Another dog, from the Lakewood Police Department, has been named in two claims involving serious injuries, including attacking the wrong man in a field while searching for a suspect in a domestic-violence assault in May 2011.

Chad Boyles was simply taking a walk to cool off following the argument when he was attacked by K-9 Officer Astor, according to his claim. The dog bit him on the arm and shoulder, leaving a deep wound in his forearm.

“All I could hear was crunching,” Boyle recalled. He filed a $3million claim against the county last week.

Lakewood police have declined to comment on the claim.

Astor is also named in a federal lawsuit filed by Noel Saldana over injuries he suffered on June 27, 2010.

In this instance, Saldana was being sought by the dog and his handler after police responded to Saldana’s apartment on a report of domestic violence. He was gone by the time police arrived. Although nobody had been injured, the officers decided they had reason to arrest him, according to police reports.

Saldana, 27, said he was intoxicated and urinating in some bushes several blocks away when he heard a “loud voice telling me to get down.”

“I did exactly as I was told,” he said, but Astor tore into his leg.

The attack lasted only a few seconds, but the animal tore out a fist-sized piece of his calf, rending ligaments and gristle. Saldana said the sound was “like tearing a chicken into pieces.”

He was never charged with a crime.

Astor continues to work, the department said.

One of the largest settlements — $175,000 — resulted not from a bite on an innocent bystander, but on a law-enforcement officer.

In January 2012, King County sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Olmstead was attacked by a Tukwila police K-9 named Gino while he was approaching the trailer of a suspect. The dog tore into his right calf.

“ I was forced to the ground and screamed in pain,” Olmstead wrote in his claim against Tukwila. “I seriously contemplated shooting the K-9.”


In the U.S., police dogs are trained to bite and bite hard.

A study comparing injuries caused by police dogs and bites from domestic dogs, published in 2006 in the medical Journal of Injuries, found “much higher” rates of hospitalization for those who tangled with K-9s. The study’s author, Dr. Peter C. Meade, found that police dogs were far more likely to inflict multiple, serious bites than were domestic dogs, and victims’ injuries were almost twice as likely to require surgery.

Part of the reason, Meade concluded, was that the dogs used by police were bred for size and trained to bite and not let go.

Most U.S. police departments use large breeds such as German shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Rottweilers. With the police-dog injuries he studied, Meade said the forces the animals inflicted reached 800 pounds of pressure per square inch — enough to puncture sheet metal.

Many, if not most, of the K-9 patrol dogs used by police departments today are bred in Europe and receive their initial training there. The dogs can cost up to $4,000 and their training an additional $10,000, according to experienced dog trainers and handlers.

Initially, most of the dogs are exposed to “Schutzhund” training, a sport developed by German dog breeders in the early 1900s as a test for the large shepherd breeds. It is demanding, and involves working closely with a human handler and being tested in difficult conditions for tracking skills, obedience and protection.

According to the Web page for the German-based Schutzhund training organization DVG (Deutscher Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine), the dogs are trained to track and find human targets.

But rather than attack, a dog learns to circle and bark at the target, the “find and bark” technique that is at the core of Schutzhund and is favored by police in most European countries.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, in its model canine-use policies, said the “find-and-bark approach” is preferable, partly because it reduces the risk of the dog inflicting serious injuries on a suspect “or even an innocent bystander before the handler can locate the dog and command it to disengage.”

U.S. K-9 trainers, handlers and researchers say that “find and bark” sounds great but doesn’t work in practice.

They claim it endangers the dog and handler, and leaves too much discretion to the animal.

The ready availability of firearms in the U.S. — unlike Europe — also undermines the use of the find-and-bark technique. A dog that stands off and barks makes an easy target, and so does the police officer/handler coming up behind it, they said.

Zbigniew Kasprzyk, vice president of the Washington State Police Canine Association and a 27-year veteran dog handler for the King County Sheriff’s Office, said the threat of the bite is what it’s all about.

“If I’m going to deploy my dog, I want that person to know they are going to be bitten unless they come out. It’s a huge incentive,” he said.

At the same time, Kasprzyk said, it should be the handler’s decision, not the dog’s.

Kasprzyk points out that most dogs are deployed hundreds of times without incident, but that accidents happen. Dogs lose tracks and make mistakes, and the whole point of having a handler is to control the animal.

A dog that repeatedly bites the wrong person, or whose deployments often result in serious injuries, needs to be looked at, as does his handler and their training regime.

“If you’re seeing one dog with several problems from an agency, it’s something that the agency should be addressing.

“These incidents are rare,” he said. “But too many can hurt the whole canine industry.”

Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or mcarter@seattletimes.com

Probe Underway After Romeoville Cop Shoots Dog Near Elementary School

Romeoville police said an officer believed an attack was imminent when he shot a dog that was running loose last week near Irene King Elementary School.

Chief Mark Turvey said an investigation into the Feb. 19 incident is under way. The dog did not die immediately following the shooting and was ultimately euthanized, police said.

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Police said the dog had charged the officer twice and was growling and baring its teeth when the officer shot it in the front yard of a home across from the school.

Raymundo Delavega, the owner of the dog, said the family pet was able to escape from the backyard after a fence post broke due to rust. He said the dog had gotten out before, but had never attacked anyone.

"He's never been aggressive," Delavega said of the 5-year-old dog named Joseph. Delavega said the dog would sometimes bark at people who passed their home, but "he would never go attack anybody. He never bit anybody."

Turvey said police received calls about a dog acting aggressively on Feb. 19.

“The report we received was that the dog was snapping at kids and adults in the area,” Turvey said, adding that one of the calls came from a school employee, who said students had informed a teacher that a dog had been trying to bite them outside the school.

The dog, described by police as a pit bull/boxer mix, was first spotted in a grassy area near the exit of the Irene King parking lot, Turvey said. When the officer approached, the dog crossed the street, ending up in a front yard in the 300 block of Eaton Avenue.

Turvey said the officer requested a catch pole to secure the dog, and approached it to see if it was wearing tags.

According to police, the dog growled and charged the officer twice, despite the officer’s attempts to avoid the animal and take cover behind a pickup truck. According to Turvey, the officer shot the dog twice in the head.

“The first shot was when the dog was attacking,” Turvey said. Although the attack ceased after the first gunshot, he said, the officer made the decision to fire a second time to put the dog out of its misery.

“It appeared to be in extreme agony and the officer felt the humane thing to do was to put it out of its misery,” Turvey said. “ … I know this officer is a dog lover and he hated to do it.”

According to police, the second shot did not kill the dog, and it returned to its home just a few doors down from the school.

Turvey said the dog had escaped from the backyard due to an unsecured gate. The dog returned to the yard, entering through the same gate, and police went to the front door and spoke to the pet’s owner, according to Turvey.

Delavega said no one was home at his Eaton Avenue house when the incident occurred, but his 18-year-old daughter arrived shortly afterward.

"My daughter was hysterical after all this," he said. "She didn't know what to do." Delavega said police told her the injured dog was her responsibility. She took the pet to an animal clinic in Romeoville, according to her dad.

Delavega, who was heading to work when he learned of the shooting, said he drove to the animal clinic, where he was told it was unlikely Joseph would live long enough to make the trip to an animal hospital for surgery.

"They said there was no way he would make it to the hospital," Delavega said. "I told them to put him down." Delavega said the clinic offered to waive the charges to euthanize the pet.

‘A last resort’

Turvey said police work to ensure a safe outcome for everyone, including animals.

“Shooting the dog is a last resort,” he said. “We try to do whatever we can not to do that. We deal with hundreds of dogs every year, and it’s rare that we have to do this. We certainly strive to treat all animals humanely.”

Turvey said the officer’s first priority was protecting people from an attack.

“The dog appeared to be vicious,” he said. “We were very concerned the dog would attack someone," particularly a child.

“If an officer is in danger of being attacked, he does have the right to fire his weapon,” Turvey said.

Romeoville resident Jill Aikin, who is also the former president of the RomeovilleHumane Society, said she was shocked to learn about the shooting.

"I'm concerned about what happened and how it happened," she said.

"If in fact the dog was vicious, where was animal control?" Aikin asked. She also questioned whether shooting the dog was necessary.

"They could have tased the dog," she said. "They could have used a tranquilizer ... They could have done something different other than shooting it in the face." Aikin added she was troubled by the fact that the officer discharged a weapon so close to a school.

Community members took to Facebook and the local discussion board Topix to air their concerns about the shooting, and Delavega said he also wonders if it was necessary to shoot his pet.

"They told me they shot him because he was acting aggressive and nibbling at people," he said. "I don't know what that means ...

"I know we've got some kind of blame for the dog being out," Delavega acknowledged. "If I would have been home, it wouldn't have happened ... What bothers me is, why did [the officer] have to shoot him?"

Delavega was also upset that his daughter was left to deal with the aftermath.

"You should have seen my house," he said. "There was blood all over the place."

Turvey said he understands the concerns.

“People are concerned that we had to shoot a dog and fire a gun in the area of a school,” Turvey said. “There’s a lot of concerns in the area and I understand.”

Turvey said the officer had his back to the campus when he discharged his weapon, and did not fire in the direction of the school.

“You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “If he missed the dog, the bullet would have gone into the ground … It appears the officer did use the proper precautions when he did this.”

Turvey said police reports do not indicate that any children witnessed the shooting. However, police are looking to talk to anyone who may have seen the incident.

Aikin also urged anyone who saw what happened to talk to police.

"The witnesses need to come forward," she said.

Anyone who witnessed the shooting is asked to contact Romeoville police at 815-886-7219.


MPPD: Officer accidentally shot K-9

MOSS POINT, Miss. (WALA) - A very important member of the Moss Point Police Force is recovering after being shot. It’s the department’s K-9, Cora. Police said the shooter was one of their own.

Although she was a little sore, on Thursday, March 7, it was obvious Cora had made tremendous progress since the shooting Tuesday.

Police Chief Keith Davis said Cora is a big part of the Moss Point Police Department.

"She’s a member of the family," said Davis.

The focus now is on getting Cora back on the job. Davis said the 2-year-old K-9 was shot while officers were conducting a search warrant at a home.

"Entry was made into the residence and the K-9 handler attempted to circle around the back of the residence to secure any person's attempting to flee from the rear of the residence,” said Davis.

Police said Cora heard some commotion inside the house, and did what she is trained to do - respond to the threat.

"The K-9 pulled away from her handler, got loose from him and went towards the fight where the individuals were being arrested," said Davis.

Police said Cora mistook one of the undercover officers for a suspect and bit his leg. Police said at the same time, the officer mistook the K-9 for the suspect’s pit bull.

"With all of the chaos going on inside of the residence, the officer turned thinking it was one of the vicious dogs he had heard about and tried to isolate the threat,” said Davis.

Davis said the officer shot, sending a bullet through Cora's hind leg. She was rushed into emergency surgery.

The vet said it will be a few weeks, but Cora will be back on the force, doing what she loves.

"Her responsibilities are as important as a human police officer," said Davis.

Thursday, Cora acted like nothing had happened playing tug-of-war with the chief. Her handler said it's important for her to take it easy, but it’s obvious Cora wants nothing to do with rest.

Cora’s handler said after she was shot, Cora didn’t even flinch. He said she kept her focus on the job.

The Moss Point Police Department is asking an outside agency to investigate.



Should these dogs shot by police be considered "revenge killings?"

 Should the following cases of dogs shot and killed by police be considered revenge killings? I ask this question as I've noticed a disturbing common denominator about dogs killed after their owners had been in recent trouble with the police. The same police departments returned at a later date and killed the family dog under questionable circumstances.

I'm not suggesting this is what happened in these three separate incidents. The stories told to me are only one side (the victims) detailing what happened, including the events leading up to the family dog being shot by police. In most cases, the police had no prior contact with the family. I just like to present different possibilities whenever I see a pattern.

I won't name names as to prevent retaliation by police on the families who were kind enough to forward me this information. Here are three cases of dogs shot by police that sound suspiciously like revenge killings.


In Illinois a dog owner was outside playing with his two dogs when several police officers showed up and drew their guns. The dogs were barking, and the owner was told to get the dogs inside or they'd be shot. A teen member of the family came to the door and a gun was drawn on the teen. The dog owner was handcuffed and taken to the police department, where he was later released since he wasn't the suspect the police were looking for. A few months later his dog was shot six times by this police department and had to be euthanized.


In N.C. a family's home was raided. The sum of $15,000 and a gun collection of legal firearms were confiscated. According to the son, the police were upset no charges could be made in the case. A month later, the son's residence was raided and flash grenades thrown into the house. His dog was shot to death and the owner was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. Charges are in the process of being dropped as the case has been determined "unfounded" meaning the investigation being conducted was false and baseless. It's not uncommon (or illegal) for people in the south to hide money in their home instead of using a bank. At the time of this article, the money hasn't been returned and the family is struggling to pay their mortgage.


An Alabama dog owner whose dog was shot and killed by police had a run-in with the police prior to the incident that took the life of his family dog. In early 2012, he was arrested for failure to register manufactured mobile home and pay land taxes. He was held in jail for 15 hours, hosed down, put in stripes and had to pay a bail bondsman to be bonded out. The catch is, he has never had any property in his name. All property in question is in his father's name. The father had paid the taxes and registered the home. The case was thrown out when receipts were brought before a judge, who couldn't believe what all this dog owner had been through.

A later incident occurred with the same Alabama dog owner. Last June he was arrested for "unlawful possession for a controlled substance" when police came into the family home when his mother wasn't there. The prescription drugs were hers. He was jailed for a day had to pay a $10,000 bond. Charges were reduced to "controlled possession" and he was placed on a years probation and fined $3,000 plus court costs. Although a drug test given came back negative, this dog owner was required to go through a court referral drug program as a condition of probation.

Apparently there's a law in Alabama stating that the lawful owner of controlled medication must keep said medication on their person when away from the home. If drugs are found in the home and the person the prescription is made out to isn't there, an adult in the home with the drugs can be charged with controlled possession.

Seven months later, this owners dog was shot and killed by the same police department who took part in the two previous arrests. He's recently been arrested by yet another questionable charge.

Are these revenge killings caused by those charged with a crime taking the case to court? These cases all have a disturbing similarity. Those charged were innocent, and these dog shooting victims believe their dogs were shot in retaliation. Revenge killings brought about by those arrested taking a stand and going to court to defend themselves. The ultimate price after being found innocent was paid by the family dog in each of these three cases.

What do the readers here think of these cases? Do any of you who are now the victim of dogs shot by police have a similar story to tell? It's alarming to think how many of these cases may exist.

Lawrence cop shoots dog

Officer said dog repeatedly charged
LAWRENCE — A city patrolman shot a dog to death this morning after it charged him repeatedly, according to police.
According to a memo of the incident from Lawrence Sgt. Joseph Beaulieu to Police Chief John Romero, Patrolman Eric Cerullo “needed to shoot and kill a pitbull ... for his own safety” at around 8:15 a.m.
Animal Control Officer Ellen Bistany said the dog that was killed was not a pit bull. She said it was a Chinese Shar-pei, a 60-pound dog that can be aggressive and is sometimes used for fighting.
Sgt. Beaulieu said in the memo on the incident that at around 5 a.m., police got a call from a man at 28 Summer St. who said he was stuck in his car with his daughter and couldn’t get out because a dog that he thought was a pit bull was trying to attack them.
Officer Cerullo went to the scene and was able to distract the dog so that the man and his daughter could get out of their car and enter their home. He said that during that encounter, the dog charged him several times. Further, he said he was unable to locate the owner.
About three hours later, around 8:15 a.m., Cerullo was called again to the same address because the dog was trying to attack another person, according to Beaulieu’s memo.
Animal Control Officer Bistany was notified, and Cerullo waited at the scene for her to arrive. He cleared a parking area of bystanders while also attempting to locate the dog’s owner.
Cerullo said that as he was watching the dog, it charged him several times, and at one point, got within a few feet of him.
“At this time, Off. Cerullo, with his department issued firearm, fired approximately 3-4 shots at the pit bull, striking him,” Beaulieu said.
The dog ran into the parking lot a few feet and then fell to the ground, alive but severely injured.
“Cerullo then fired 2 additional shots, ending the life of this dog,” the memo said. Beaulieu said in the memo that he asked Cerullo why he fired the final two shots.
“Off. Cerullo stated to me that he did not want the dog to suffer any longer,” he said.
Witnesses interviewed at the scene by Beaulieu corroborated Cerullo’s story.
Nobody has come forward to claim the animal, which was in the neighborhood and appeared to be protecting a minivan that was parked in the area. “Some careless owner left the dog out,” she said. “It had a rope hanging from its collar, like a clothes line.”
Bistany said the dog was verified by the MSPCA as a Shar-Pei or a mix of breeds dominated by Shar-Pei.
“It was not a pit bull,” she said. “It had a wrinkly snout. The MSPCA verified it was a Shar-Pei mix. It was a non-neutered male. They can be nasty dogs, too.”
Communications officials with the MSPCA and the Animal Rescue League said their enforcement officers were not aware of the shooting and were not involved.
An attempt to reach Bistany again Friday evening was unsuccessful and a message could not be left.
Reporter Douglas Moser contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

Double standards penalties for police officers shooting family dogs

There are double standard penalties for police officers shooting family dogs. Or should I say no penalty? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines double standard as "a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another." This is what I'd call a double standard penalty when a police officer shoots a family dog rather than a private citizen committing the act. Meaning the officer gets away with it, while someone who's not a member of law enforcement goes to jail.
A recent example of a private citizen being arrested for animal cruelty after shooting two dogs occurred in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania on February12. Gabriel Pilotti, 72, was charged with two cases of animal cruelty after killing two dogs Pilotti originally claimed were after his sheep. He later changed his story saying he shot one of the dogs while it was slowly coming toward him, and the other dog as it was running away.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan stated in a news release "there was no justification for the killing of these two dogs. The defendant has been charged and will be dealt with appropriately. Our sympathies go out to the family and children who lost their beloved pets."
This is a far cry from the statements issued across this country at an alarming rate when police officers shoot a family dog under very similar circumstances. Countless dogs have lost their lives these past few years due to the trigger-happy attitude of some police officers. Many of these dogs were murdered on their own property, or chased to another property where they were gunned down.
A common excuse made by the officer is "I feared for my life, therefore I had the right to defend myself." Sadly, the officer is usually cleared of any wrong doing. The officer must be cleared, or it's an admission of guilt. In monetary terms, admitting guilt means paying out big bucks when the family of the dog sues the department or town.
The internet is filled with the stories of innocent dogs being shot by police. The Facebook page Dogs Shot By Police has new stories added almost daily. In the majority of these cases, the dog is either on or adjacent to where the dog lives. On many occasions, the officer is at the wrong address entirely.
Legislation needs to be enacted on a federal level defining strict fines and prison sentences for police officer's who abuse their authority and kill innocent pets. If an average citizen can be charged for the same offense and face fines and jail time, then so should the officer committing the same crime. A police officer is no better than those of us not in uniform when committing such a horrendous act.Perhaps this "kill at will" attitude will change as more dog owner's are suing those responsible for the wrongful death of their pet. Many of these lawsuits name not just the department, but the actual officer involved. Why aren't police officers "dealt with appropriately?" Why do police departments not issue any words of sympathy when their officers kill the family pet? How do the readers here feel? Should the police be held to the same set of standards as the rest of us. Or should the double standard philosophy continue to apply, basically giving approval for officers to shoot first and explain their way out of it later? Your comments are welcome.