A police officer in Detroit has mercilessly shot a pet dog in front of its nine-year-old owner, leaving him distraught and severely traumatized. The boy had been walking his two dogs – Stormy and Bandit – on a roadside when it ran off.
The boy – Elijah Hughs – had approached a police car and asked for help to catch the dogs but instead, an officer shot one of them, 15-month-old Stormy.
News outlets report that there were conflicting versions of what had actually happened but that the pit bull mix was shot in the face.
Elijah was quoted by Fox News 2 as saying: “One of the police officers jumped out the car and they shot Stormy and then she ran.”
Detroit Police, however, claim they received a 911 call about vicious dogs in the area. They say when they arrived on scene, the dog ran towards them.
“We don’t know if the dog is friendly or not [but] it was running toward the officer and the officer had to make a split decision at that time,” said Captain Keeth Williams of the Detroit Police said.
The boy’s aunt, Sonya Davis told the Detroit News that the dog was not vicious.
The dog miraculously survived the shooting, but it was in dire need of surgery. The family now needed $8,000 for medical bills to fix the dog’s lower jaw, which had been severely damaged.
This is not the first time the Detroit police has landed in hot water over shooting dogs. Last year, they were accused of shooting three dogs who were in a backyard enclosure. It is alleged that the officers shot them so that they could confiscate marijuana plants in the yard. Detroit police paid $225,000 to settle the lawsuit, according to online news publication Reason.
In another 2015 incident, it reported that a man was paid a $100,000 settlement after Detroit police shot his dog while it was chained to a fence. The publication further alleged that in 2017, around 54 dogs were shot by Detroit police.
David Barritt, chief campaigner for animal welfare organisation, Network for Animals, said something needed to be done to ascertain why Detroit police have such a bad history with dog shootings.
“As civilians, we put our trust in the police to protect us, to protect our families. These include the furry family members like dogs. Shooting them without provocations is extremely concerning because if they are so quick to shoot a dog, what’s to say they won’t do the same to humans,” said Barritt.
“It’s also difficult to understand their reasoning for brutally shooting Elijah’s pet dog. It just does not make sense. How can you shoot a dog in the face for running toward you? It did not bite him. I think the officer has a lot to answer for.”