Police shoot family dog in its own yard in Irmo, SC

4-year-old Kenya (Source: NBC12.com)
4-year-old Kenya (Source: NBC12.com)
4-year-old Kenya (Source: NBC12.com)

IRMO, SC — A family was horrified to discover a puddle of blood and a violation notice pinned to their front door.  Their family dog had been killed by police while they were away.

The incident began when the 4-year-old Labrador/Shepherd named Kenya had escaped from its backyard fence.  The dog allegedly followed a jogger, prompting a call to the government.

The owner, Jared Mann, says they’ve tried many different methods to contain Kenya, including building a backyard fence and even putting in an electrical fence as an additional measure.  But Kenya still found a way to escape and explore — violating a town ordinance.

When police arrived, the dog  approached an officer, prompting him to fire at the dog multiple times.

“He charged me,” said the officer in the incident report obtained by NBC12. “I had to shoot him.”

“She was still moving 30 minutes later and I asked if I could take her to the vet and they said no,” said a neighbor. “And that’s when one of the police officers asked the other police officer to get a tarp and just covered her up.”

The police report claims that the dog was shot again to “end the dog’s misery,” contrary to the neighbor’s statement.

“With the dog being that close to the house, if it was in the middle of the street, it’d be a little bit different I think. But the dog was on its own property so I felt he could have left the dog alone,” said a neighbor.

Was defensive action necessary for the officer’s safety?  Perhaps it was, but did that have to include the deadliest tool available?  Why not pepper spray or a taser?

Or was the dog just running up to greet the visitors?  The dog’s family says she’s never hurt anyone.

Irmo Police Chief Brian Buck said the shooting was justified, and the officer acted in self-defense.

Let’s be clear: sometimes there are vicious dogs that must be dealt with using deadly force.  But “Dog Shot By Police” has become daily news headline.  There are entire pages dedicated to covering news about family pets being shot by police.  Why?

Puppycide_SignAccording to former officer Jim Osorio, police officers in the U.S. shoot thousands of dogs per year.  Osorio is now a specialist at the National Humane Law Enforcement Academy, which provides instruction to police departments. The question is, are there that many “aggressive” dogs?

If there are thousands of family dogs worth shooting every year, why aren’t we seeing more dog attacks on mail carriers?

“Just because a dog barks doesn’t mean it’s an aggressive dog,” says Osorio.

The Officer Down Memorial Page records police fatalities in the United States.  In 50 years, they have never recorded an officer dying because of a dog.

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