A playful family dog was shot in the face by a Hammond, Indiana police officer Monday, just yards away from where the Maldonado family — including their five children — were playing during a backyard barbecue.
Now the Maldonados and the Hammond police department are telling two different stories of how one-and-half-year-old Lily ended up with a bullet hole in her snout — but fortunately survived the police shooting.
The family says there was no reason their beloved family dog had to be shot and the Maldonados are demanding answers from the police. But Hammond police have come to the defense of the officer who put a bullet in Lily. They say the answer is simple: Lily, a pit bull mix, was attacking the officer and he was simply acting in self-defense.
Norma Maldonado says her two young sons had just collected their plates of food and were walking toward the front of the house with Lily eagerly following when a shot rang out.
“Not even 10 seconds later we heard the gun shot and Lily screamed out,” Maldonado told Chicago’s Fox 32 News. “And I just dropped what I was doing and I went running and I had still seen the officer pointing his gun.”
The mom said she couldn’t believe that Lily attacked the officer, saying the dog just loves to play.
“Very lovable. She loves everybody that comes here, she’s very playful,” she said.
Maldonado said she approached the officer and demanded to know why he shot the dog — and with children nearby.
“He said, ‘because your dog was loose,'” said Maldonado. “And I said, ‘no she’s not there’s an electrical fence, read the sign.'” The officer had reportedly been called to the area because Hammond police received a call about a pit bull roaming on the loose.
The Hammond police department issued a statement saying that the officer arrived at the Maldonado residence and called to the family, trying to get their attention about the dog. And that’s when Lily charged him.
The police statement said that the officer retreated 15 to 20 feet, but Lily kept coming so he shot the dog.
“The Hammond Police Department has determined that based upon the circumstances that the officer was justified in defending himself at the time of the incident,” the police statement read.
Though Lily is doing better and recovering from the gunshot wound, the family had to come up with $5,000 for her veterinary care. Now they are consulting with attorneys about what to do next.
Norma Maldonado denies that Lily attacked the officer, and says that it was irresponsible for the officer to fire his gun with her children so close by. The dog could have been tasered, not shot, if the officer felt endangered, she said.