On Tuesday, while police officers were responding to a call about a domestic dispute in Hesperia, California, they shot and killed a family dog — at what they later realized was the wrong house. The tragic mix up ended up costing that family the life of their elderly husky mix, named “Buddy.”
The Hesperia Police Department released a statement regarding the incident advising that dispatchers had sent the deputies to the home on the left-hand side of the person who had called in but when they got to the neighborhood the officers went into the house to the right of the caller. The person who reported the domestic dispute declined to give his name to the media.
A Calif. deputy shot a dog while responding to a domestic disturbance, only to realize he was at the wrong house. https://t.co/YhqGd9jPtw— Steph Solis (@stephmsolis) June 9, 2016
The deputies said that they shot the family’s innocent 11-year-old husky mix dog because he, along with two other smaller dogs, seemed to be responding aggressively towards them. The statement said that they had initially rattled the gate of the fence to alert any animals on the premises, then they entered the yard once it appeared that no animal was present. The Examiner reported that the release from the police went on to say that the deputies made claims that the dogs’ behavior was seen as a threat by both of the officers and in self-defense, “one of them fired a single round at the dog with his handgun.” That single bullet incapacitated the dog once it made contact. The sound of the gunshot brought a man running out of the residence, and it was once he spoke to the deputies that they realized that not only were they at the wrong location, but that they had just killed an innocent dog.
Despite the tale that the deputies are said to have relayed to the department about how they came to shoot and kill that family’s dog, they seemed to have a different version of how things occurred. One of the owners of the dog, Debra Blackmore, took to Facebook to make a furious post stating that her German Shepherd/Labrador mix, had not even gotten the chance to bark before he was gunned down by the officer. Audio recording from the deputy did actually back up the officer’s claim as several barks can be heard before the shot was fired. The department said in their statement that the officers involved were very sorry.
“The officers involved in this incident feel terrible about what occurred but felt they had no other reasonable option at the time.”
The family dog, Buddy, suffered for at least 10 minutes before he died, forced to lay bleeding in the home, as he unfortunately needed to be carried to the veterinarian for the gunshot wound he had received but did not get that chance. Blackmore said that, at the time the deputies entered the wrong house, her son and brother-in-law had been at home, and neither heard the deputies approach the home until they were almost inside. After the dog was shot, the males were “contained” by the police and not allowed to see Buddy.
According to the Daily Press, Animal Control advised the family that taking the dog shot by deputies responding to the wrong house to get aid would “cost too much.” Though once more, stories differ, as the officials state that they offered to carry the dog to the vet, as did Animal Control when called. They say, though, that the man at the house continuously and repetitively declined the offer.
Blackmore questions the use of deadly force on an animal who was simply protecting its home and wonders if the deputies are not trained to handle that confrontation in any other manner.
“They could have (used a Taser on) him or used pepper spray. We typically have our grandchildren here — what if my grandson would have run out with the dogs?”
The owner of the dog has stated that she intends to file a complaint against the against the Sheriff’s Department, especially since the police are “always at the other house” and as such should have known where to respond, and also because she felt their offer of an apology was lacking depth, as her pet was dead and “all they said was, ‘sorry’.”
The department maintains that they understand the emotional impact of the shooting and death of the family dog and will continue to attempt communications with the family as they grieve their beloved pet and will also do their best to help if possible.
“The department and the officers involved in this unfortunate situation all recognize the emotional impact the loss of a family pet has on this family and we extend our deepest sympathies.”
An arrest was made at the right house once deputies realized their error and responded there.
[Image Via Shutterstock]