Colorado cops criticized for shooting restrained dog

By Arturo Garcia
Monday, November 26, 2012 13:49 EDT
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Police in Commerce City, Colorado have drawn criticism for an officer’s shooting of a pit bull on Saturday after the animal was restrained, KUSA-TV reported.

“He’s basically back in the garage or whatever, staying away from police,” said Kenny Collins, who called animal control after seeing the dog had gotten out of his neighbor’s garage. Collins’ son filmed the dog’s encounter with an animal control official and two officers.

The unidentified neighbor was allegedly out of the house when the dog tripped a sensor opening the garage door. Collins said the dog was never aggressive toward him.

“The dog was not attacking people,” Collins told the station. “That’s not what I said when I called 911.”

Collins said police and the animal control agent spent at least half an hour deciding what to do about the dog while it sat near its bed, and that police tased the dog twice. The unidentified officer then shot the dog as it tried to escape the garage, including four shots after its head and neck were trapped in a catch pole.

“The pit bull remained extremely agitated and continued to attempt to attack the animal control agent,” police said in a statement. “Due to the dog’s size and aggressive demeanor, it could not be controlled on the catch pole. For the safety of the animal control agent and the community, a police officer shot and killed the dog.”

However, a local animal behavior expert said that, according to the video, the catch pole was being used effectively.

“It’s pretty far away and kind of fuzzy, so it’s hard to see a lot of the dog’s body postures,” said Alicia Hall, who works with the Dumb Friends League, an animal shelter group based out of Denver. “But what I did see is that the dog did retreat quite a bit from the police officers and the animal control officer. It ran into the garage rather than coming out of the garage. And even when he was coming out of the garage, it didn’t look like he was coming after them, it looked like he was trying to get away from them

Commerce City Police Detective Mike Saunders told the station authorities are reviewing the incident.

KUSA’s report, aired Sunday, can be seen below.

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Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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