15 May, 2014
The Redford Township police department in Maine has drawn a lot of criticism after an officer shot and killed a 10-month-old puppy in a couple’s backyard while pursuing an unrelated suspect.
According to reports, police were pursuing a suspect early on Sunday morning when an officer jumped the fence into Bianca Alakson and Ryan Showalter’s backyard to follow the man. According to the officer, their dog charged him and, “fearing for his safety” he fired at the dog. He said the dog continued to approach him and he fired a second fatal shot.
Showalter says “I didn’t know what had happened at first I just heard, ‘pop pop!’” He says when he saw what happened to his dog, Rock, he became “hysterical.”
When he tried to confront the officer, he was arrested for interfering with an investigation but it’s unclear if he will face charges.
Redford Police has released a statement saying “everyone here loves animals and shooting a dog is the last thing we want to do, but we have to protect ourselves.”
Showalter says there’s no way the 10-month-old pup could have posed a threat. “He wasn’t the protector-of-the-house type dog. He was just the greet-everybody-and-love-them-to-death type dog.”
Alakson added “he was my baby.”
Just last month, a Texas deputy shot a dog that had jumped off his owner’s truck. The dog’s owner, Cole Middleton, says “shoot first, ask questions later is a dangerous way to conduct yourself as a police officer. A deadly weapon is your only way out? That thought alone is terrifying.”