A police officer shot and killed a family’s dog as the animal ran unleashed outside their home, sparking controversy in the Idaho town and online.
The incident happened Saturday, when a police officer in the town of Filer responded to a complaint of dogs running around a neighborhood. Officer Tarek Hassani responded to the call, arriving to the house on Jacklyne Circle to find a chihuahua and two large dogs running unleashed.
Hassani tried to approach the home, but the two larger dogs barked and circled around him. Hassani drew his weapon and tried to kick one of the dogs, which responded with more barking.
The police officer then raised his weapon and fired a shot, striking the dog. It was not immediately killed, but had to be put down.
Rick Clubb, the owner of the dog, said his family was celebrating his son’s 9th birthday party when the dogs got loose. He claims that the 7-year-old black labrador, Hooch, wasn’t even being aggressive when the officer shot it.
Clubb said he suffers Parkinson’s disease, and the dog was a trained service animal.
“He didn’t have to pull out his.45 and shoot my dog,” Clubb told MagicValley.com. “It was right outside my son’s bedroom. What if it had ricocheted through the window?”
The shooting was caught on the officer’s dashboard camera, and the incident has sparked debate online about whether the officer was justified in shooting the dog. A link to the story shared on the site Reddit led to many criticizing Hassani’s actions, saying the officer needlessly escalated the situation.
The incident is reminiscent of another famous case of a police officer shooting and killing a dog. Last year, a Hawthorne, California police officer shot and killed a dog that escaped from a car during a hostage situation. The dog’s owner had gotten into a shouting match with officers responding to the scene, and the dog charged toward them after climbing through an open window in the car.
That case was also met with controversy, though the department deemed the shooting justified.
In Idaho, the Filer police department also said officer Tarek Hassani was right when he shot and killed the dog. After the incident the dog’s owner was ticketed for allowing animals to run at large.