Police in Georgia are under fire after reportedly killing a dog that witnesses say was posing no threat to them and then arresting the dog’s owner for failing to keep it on a leash.
The incident happened in Clayton county, where Claudette Terry was moving into a home on Pineglen Drive. As the family was unpacking, police came by to check on a man who was sitting in their driveway, who Terry said was a friend.
It was then that the family’s dog, a 5-month-old pit-lab mix named 8-Ball, came out to see what was happening.
“My son opened the door the dog ran out and kind of stood by me where the other officers were,” Terry told WSB-TV. “He didn’t bark, growl or anything.”
There are differing accounts on what happened next. Police said that the dog lunged at them, causing them to open fire and kill the animal. Neighbors say the dog was never a threat.
“He just shot the dog and stood there with no remorse, no regrets in front of her and her kids,” neighbor Aijohli King told WSB-TV reporter Amy Napier Viteri.
Another witness, Brandon Smarr, said the officer was particularly callous after killing the dog.
“He just took a step back and he just shot at the dog,” Smarr said. “And then he started laughing afterward.”
“The dog was shaking on the ground,” Terry said. “And he walked up to the dog and shot it a second time. He walked closer and shot it a second time.”
The case comes on the heels of another controversial dog’s death at the hand of police in Georgia. Last month, a K-9 died after an officer left the animal in a hot car for more than 10 hours.
The dog, a police bloodhound named Zane, was found dead inside the car owned by his handler. The Conyers Police Department later posted on Facebook about the K-9’s death, noting that action was already being taken against the officer responsible.
“Zane, a five year old bloodhound, has worked as a tracking dog for Conyers Police Department for four years, three of those with his current handler.
“Zane’s handler, Jerahmy Williams, has been with the police department nearly five years and is a patrol Corporal. Williams is currently on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
“Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office responded to Corporal Williams’ residence last night and is currently conducting a separate investigation with the assistance of the Rockdale County District Attorney’s Office.
“We are committed to the care and proper treatment of our working K9s. We are mourning the loss of our own.”
An investigation found that the officer who shot the dog, Walter Dennard, has several use-of-force complaints, including one for reportedly Tasering a suspect in the neck. The Clayton County police are conducting an investigation into puppy’s shooting death.
[Image via WSB-TV]