The latest incident in what seems to be an epidemic of police officers shooting family pets occurred Wednesday in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, when an officer shot and killed a dog in a parked van, apparently believing it was a “vicious” pit bull that belonged to a suspected child molester.
Actually, the dog was a friendly black lab who was just curious about who was approaching the van. His owner was in a nearby diner enjoying his breakfast — and Craig Jones was definitely not the sex predator that the police were looking for. He is, however, a grieving dog-parent today.
“This still isn’t even real to me,” Jones told KREM Channel 2 News, saying that two-year-old black lab was nothing but friendly. “If my dog is barking and wondering who’s peering through the windows he doesn’t care if you’re a cop, an attorney, or President Bush. He doesn’t know any difference.”
The incident began when police in the city about 45,000, 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington, got a call about a white van in a parking lot whose owner was, the caller said, inappropriately watching local children. Police suspected that the van could be part of a case in which a man has tried to lure children into his vehicle recently, so they went to check it out.
But somehow, they got the wrong van. When the nervous officer approached, already with his gun drawn, the eager black lab poked its head out the open driver’s side. That’s when the officer fired one shot into the friendly dog’s chest.
Investigators at the scene announced that the dog was a “vicious” pit bull that had “lunged” at the officer. But of course, the dog was not a pit bull, and what the officer described as the dog “lunging” at his face was just the dog doing what any dog would do when someone approaches.
The latest dog to be shot by a police officer seems to be part of a pattern. The Inquisitr has reported on three other cases in just the past six weeks.
• In late May, cops in Round Rock, Texas, checking out a burglar alarm opened fire on a family’s beloved Rottweiler, shooting the dog seven times and killing the household pet.
• About a week later in Hammond, Indiana, a police officer shot a family’s playful pit bull mix right in front of children enjoying a backyard barbecue. The officer said he was in the family’s yard and shot the dog because it was “loose.” That dog survived.
• Two weeks after that, an officer in Salt Lake City, Utah, entered the back yard of a home searching for a child who had been reported missing just minutes earlier. When the homeowner’s friendly, 2-year-old Weimaraner approached the officer, he shot an killed the dog. The child was found safe and sleeping in its own home a half-hour after it was reported missing.
The suspected child molester who police thought they’d found when they shot Craig Jones’ dog is still at large.