A Gwinnett County, Georgia family says police shot and killed their 7-month-old pit bull puppy after the animal bounded towards them earlier this week.
Gwinnett County police say they were called to a Jimmy Dodd Road home after a neighbor called about suspicious activity.
The Rios family had just begun to move into the home and were mistaken for burglars. With the family gone, the police found only two dogs.
The officer said the dog rushed toward him. He said he backed up and then began circling around. The officer said that’s when the pit bull dove at him and bit at his pants and leg. The officer says he fired two shots and his partner fired a shotgun.
“I don’t know why they did this to me. Now I’m afraid to go back to the house,” a visibly shaken Karen Rios told local reporters.
Police say the shooting was justified because the puppy, Rocky, tried to bite an officer. The second dog, named Scrappy, was not injured.
The officers involved were not identified and police say they have launched no investigation into the incident.
Local news coverage:
In recent years, the killing of canines by police has become a contentious issue resulting in the creation of the term “puppycide.”
Advocates of ending “puppycide” point to the blaring double standard that exists between police and the rest of the population.
While police dogs are more or less considered human beings in terms of the rights they posses when harmed by suspects, ordinary pets of private citizens killed or harmed by police enjoy no such protections.
Animal rights activists and civil libertarians say the shootings are widespread and result from officers having little-to-no training on how to deal with animals.
In most cases, advocates say, officers simply react inappropriately to the playful nature of the animals, who are usually just running up to them to say hello or bite playfully at their heels.
Some analysts claim a dog is shot by police in the U.S. every 98 minutes.