Police shoot to kill after first bullet paralyzes family dog

April 26, 2013
 
On Sunday morning, April 21, a call was received by the Blackford County dispatch about two dogs running at large. The reserve officer who arrived on the scene is now under fire for the incident that left a 2-year-old pit bull mix named Ozzy dead and his friend Smokey mourning her death. The family is seeking answers as to why this officer fired his gun a second time after the first bullet partially paralyzed the dog. A second bullet entered one inch under the heart, clipping the lung, liver and coming to rest in Ozzy’s intestines.
This case of a dog shot by police took place in Montpelier, Indiana beginning at around 9:30 a.m. The call into dispatch said the pit bull, owned by Shad and Heather White, had attempted an attack on some children who were about to board a church bus. This has yet to be proved. The family was preparing for church and had no idea their dogs had escaped their fenced-in yard until a friend called and told them Ozzy had been shot by police.
After running to the scene, the owner called her sister-in-law and brother-in-law to assist in getting Ozzy home. They helped dig a grave where family, as well as their other dog Smokey, cried over the loss of their family dog.
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It was after learning the officer had discharged his weapon twice that Ozzy was dug up and a necropsy performed. The family had found only one entry and exit wound on their dog. The official report showed the first bullet ricocheted off his spine, causing nerve damage but no spinal break. This injury partially paralyzed the dog, making him no threat to the police officer. The necropsy report backs this up stating “Ozzy could not use his rear legs and was dragging himself.” Ozzy had abrasions to his stomach and penis, along with a trail of urine, showing he was injured and terrified and of no threat to anyone. There are witnesses to back this up.The family was devastated to learn Ozzy would likely have recovered from the first shot.

The necropsy report backs this up stating “Ozzy could not use his rear legs and was dragging himself.” Ozzy had abrasions to his stomach and penis, along with a trail of urine, showing he was injured and terrified and of no threat to anyone. There are witnesses to back this up.The family was devastated to learn Ozzy would likely have recovered from the first shot.

It has also been cleared up that no children were present at the time of the shooting. This can be verified by witnesses who state the officer acted alone in determining Ozzy was a threat. He certainly wasn’t a threat to any children, and the so-called bus driver has vanished.

There are several questions the family would like answers to. They echo what other families of dogs shot by police would like to know.
*Why did the officer get out of his vehicle with no plan in effect to control the dog?
*Why did the officer identify in the incident report that Ozzy was a pit bull, but the other dog was a mutt? For the record, Ozzy is a mixed breed, therefore NOT a pit bull.
*Why wasn’t mace or a Taser used instead of a gun?
*Why did the officer fire another shot into a partially paralyzed dog, who was no longer a threat to anyone?
*Animal control had been dispatched. Why didn’t the officer wait the estimated two-minute arrival time for animal control, as animal control officers have the training necessary to subdue a dog other than killing it?

A booklet titled The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters put out by the Community Oriented Policing Services(COPS) and the U.S. Department of Justice, has defined officers who shoot dogs as insufficiently trained. The booklet states “Any officer who judges a dog by its breed instead of its behavior and believes any dog coming toward them is about to attack is in need of training. So are officers who lack knowledge of animal welfare groups, skills in reading dog body language or are inept at communicating with family dogs.”

The family has made the following statement on Facebook on the page set up in Ozzy’s honor. “Protocols need to be set in place where shooting truly is the last resort. If officers are going to be responding to animal calls, then they need to be trained in animal behavior, as animals are not human and do not have human reactions.”

Family and neighbors who knew Ozzy have stated he wasn’t a vicious dog and was not fear reactive. Of course, having a gun drawn and pointed at a dog could cause the dog to go into a self-defense mentality.

The family has declined further comment since the incident is still under investigation, and commenting could hurt their chances should a lawsuit be filed.

A petition is now circulating asking Blackford County to stop killing family dogs.

NOTE: To view the necropsy and incident reports, hold down the left “ctrl” key and the “+” key on your computer keyboard to enlarge the script.

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