Footage shows the moment that a Florida police officer shot and killed a pet dog in front of her owner’s home while conducting a routine house call.
Duchess, a 40-pound black-and-white bull terrier mix, was shot dead on Tuesday as she ran out the front door after her owner answered the door to an officer who knocked to say that a car door had been left open.
Duchess’ owner Gillian Palacios and her daughter are mourning loss of their dog after the incident.
Palacios told Fox News that on Tuesday morning, a police officer knocked on her door to say that her car door had been left open. When she opened the front door, her two-year-old bull terrier mix, Duchess, ran outside.
Surveillance footage appears to show one of the owners attempting unsuccessfully to restrain Duchess.
The police officer retreats as the dog bounds toward him but the dog keeps coming.
(Warning: The remainder of this article contains potentially sensitive video and photos of the incident.)
Fearing that the 40-pound bull terrier was about to attack, the officer, a detective with the Florida City Police Department, fires his weapon, hitting the dog in the head three times.
But Duchess’ owner, Gillian Palacios, said her dog was not aggressive and that she was not growling or barking as she ran towards the officer. She said Duchess was a rescue dog she and her daughter adopted recently from a shelter.
Surveillance footage (see below) shows the officer pulling out his weapon as soon as Duchess appears at the door. When the dog runs out into the yard towards the officer he retreats, but when the dog persists, he fires his weapon hitting the dog in the head three times.
Duchess falls to the ground lifeless after being hit in the head.
The dog owner comes out to see her dog lying dead on the path in a pool of blood. She looks horrified.
“Before I could even do anything, the officer had his gun out and shot her three times in the head,” Palacios told Fox News.
Palacios, who works as a pet sitter and bookkeeper, said Duchess was not an aggressive dog and was not about to attack when the officer shot her. She argued that the officer had no reason to suppose the dog was about to attack.
“She was curious. She wasn’t barking (and) she wasn’t growling. There was no reason for him to think she was aggressive in any way.”
Photos show Palacios and her daughter weeping over Duchess’ body in their yard and the path to the front door smeared with blood.
The officer, who has not been identified, has been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the incident.
As an indication of what the authorities think about the incident, Florida City Police spokesperson Ken Armenteros reportedly defended the officer’s action.
“We don’t have the luxury of hindsight,” he told WPLG-TV. “We have to use the information that is given to us in a split second. So, the officer has to make that decision with the information that he has available.”
A member of staff at the shelter from where Duchess was adopted corroborated Palacios’ claim that Duchess was not an aggressive dog. She said Duchess was a loving and docile dog and that she was shot and killed only because people assume the worst when they see “pit bull-type” dogs.
Palacios reportedly told WPLG-TV she was considering legal action.
[Image via CNN/YouTube Screengrab]