Gates Police Said Officer Who Shot Dog Had No Choice
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"Friendly dog. He's very quiet," said Lakshia Johnson.
Chino was a South American Bull Mastiff. A family pet, and protector.
"He's a watchdog, y'know? You come in my yard, he's gonna bark. He's gonna growl at you. A Chihuahua would do the same thing,” said Jerome Johnson.
On Monday, Gates police went to the Crestwood Boulevard neighborhood for reports of an aggressive dog running loose.
"From what the neighbors are saying he got out, looked both ways and just shot our dog,” Lakshia said.
Chino was shot in the leg.
"I still don't understand why authorities would shoot our dog while he's on the chain, minding his own business, not messing with anybody, and then in front of our son,” said Lakshia.
“The last thing any officer wants to do is resort to his firearm, whether it's a person or dog," said Lt. Jim VanBrederode, Gates Police Department.
Gates police say the officer had no choice.
"In this case, the situation was clear that if he didn't act immediately and decisively, that the dog – 142 pound dog – was going to attack him."
“I believe it was a mistaken identity for my dog. Shouldn't have had to happen,” said Jerome.
Gates police say they've responded on other occasions to complaints that Johnson's dogs were loose. They ticketed Jerome Johnson this time for having a dangerous animal, and one that was off the leash; a point Johnson disputes.
"No. No. He's a 142 pound dog. Why would I have him run loose?"
Gates police showed YNN a video of the shooting. It shows a dog that was barking aggressively at the officer. The video was taken with a camera worn by all Gates police officers.
Police, citing the fact that the video is evidence, wouldn't allow us to get a copy. They did let us photograph a still frame, which shows the officer's gun drawn, the dog just feet from him.
"We are sincerely sorry for the family's loss, but the officer acted in a responsible fashion, following our department policy, and above all protecting the safety of neighbors and himself,” said VanBrederode.
"It was just very traumatic for the family. I had to take my dog to the vet, and put him down because of injury,” said Jerome.
"It was hard putting him down. He had his last breath. That was the hard part,” said Lakshia.
Jerome Johnson says he's contacted a lawyer. Gates police say it wouldn't have happened if the dog was leashed.
“As a dog owner, we have to be responsible for our dogs,” VanBrederode said.