By Diana Watson
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
An Anderson family is angry after the death of their pit bull. The dog, named Cream, was shot and killed by Anderson police, who arrived at their home to investigate a stolen cell phone.
Police tell FOX Carolina they were forced to shoot the dog to protect themselves.
Adrien Best, who had two adults, three teens and three young children at her home Monday evening on East Franklin Street, said she heard the shots. She was inside the house when one of her sons told her police were pulling up the driveway.
She said by the time she reached the front door, she heard two shots fired. She said she was immediately worried about her children playing outside. Then she realized one of her family's dogs had been shot by officers.
"I tried to gather the kids up to put them in the house because apparently you're not safe outside with officers where we should be because they're protecting and serve," Best said. "If you show up with a gun and you're irate, then you're not protecting me so I did not feel safe."
Within moments, she found out why police were at her house. They were investigating a cell phone stolen from T.L. Hanna High School. The report was initiated by the school's resource officer, who is an Anderson County deputy.
The phone had been tracked by GPS to Best's house and was being carried by a friend of her son's, who told her he had found it at school. The school resource officer called for back-up from Anderson police because the East Franklin Street is in the city. A spokesman for the Anderson County Sheriff's Office said the resource officer was not on scene yet when the dog was shot.
FOX Carolina called the Anderson Police Department, who provided an incident report of the dog shooting. It was written by Officer Joseph Chapman.
Part of the report said, "A brown and white large dog charged myself and Captain Aman. Officers did draw duty issue weapons and felt in fear that the dog was going to attack, due to the threatening manner it was coming at officers. Captain Aman did shoot the dog with one shot, at which time the dog went into some bushes and was not a threat."
But the family gave a different story, calling their dog a gentle giant. Adrian Gaines, one of Best's sons, was in the driveway when he saw officers arrive and witnessed the shooting.
"The dog didn't bark, show any teeth, it didn't rush them, didn't growl or anything," Gaines said. "Once he shot him the first time, I'm sure he was scared and that's how he got up in the bushes and he ran up in the bushes and that's when you shoot him again. He's in the bushes bleeding already and you shoot him again."
The shooting of the dog was witnessed by four children, including a 13-year-old named Jeremiah. He cried for hours after the dog was killed. He and others in the family want to know why this happened.
"He was a good dog," Jeremiah said. "He didn't deserve to die. They shouldn't have shot him. There was no point to it."
Now, the family plans to file a formal complaint with Anderson police.
In the meantime, the department indicates they did what they had to do to make sure their officers were safe. They said because the dog was not in a fence or tethered, there was no option.
For Jeremiah, that's not good enough, saying, "Something needs to happen. You can't just do that and get away with it."