Police in Redford Township, Michigan, have come under fire after an officer shot and killed a dog while pursuing a suspect this weekend. Bianca Alakson and Ryan Showalter said their 10-month-old Labrador/pit bull puppy, Rock, was fatally shot by an officer in the early hours of Sunday morning. Redford police confirmed that an officer was chasing a suspect on foot and ran through the backyard of the couple’s home.
The officer said he was charged by the dog. He said he was fearing for his safety when he fired a round at the dog. The dog continued advancing so he fired again.
“I didn’t know what had happened at first. I just heard, ‘pop pop!’” Showalter told the station. When he realized the dog had been shot, he said he became “hysterical.”
Police arrested him for interfering with an investigation, and he has since bailed out. It’s unclear what charges he will face. In a statement, Redford police said that “everyone here loves animals and that [shooting a dog] is the last thing we want to do, but we have to protect ourselves.”
The couple maintain that there’s no way Rock could have posed a threat to the officer.
“He wasn’t the protector-of-the-house type dog,” Showalter said. “He was just the greet-everybody-and-love-them-to-death type dog.”
“He was just my baby,” Alakson added.
Several officers have lost their jobs over recent dog shootings. Earlier this month, a Louisiana police officer who allegedly “fought back a smile” after shooting an affectionate dog in April, announced his resignation. In April, a Texas sheriff’s deputy was fired after he shot a dog that leapt off the back of its owner’s truck.
“Shoot first, ask questions later is a dangerous way to conduct yourself as a police officer,” the dog’s owner, farmer Cole Middleton, told the New York Daily News. “A deadly weapon is your only way out? That thought alone is terrifying.”
In March, an Oklahoma police officer, who shot a dog in the neck and killed it, faced intense criticism after he reportedly bragged about the incident. He allegedly said it was “awesome” how the dog’s collar flew off its neck as the bullet struck.
Thomas Jefferson once said that unchecked power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I understand when a cop has to make split decisions and a dog vs a human life there is no contest. In the instances above not only does it appear not to be life and death, the celebrating of killing a dog should put those officers badges in question. What do you think?