BOISE, ID — Gabrielle Stropkai’s 2-year old son was forced to see something that can never be unseen. He watched as his best friend, 5-year old lab-pit mix, Kita, was shot in the back of the head by a police officer.
Kita was taking a break from nursing her 2-week old puppies, having been let out into the front yard of her family’s apartment complex. Boise police investigating a theft in the area approached Stropkai and her neighbors as they chatted nearby. Moments later, Kita was dead, her puppies left motherless.
“Officers never want to harm an animal,” Boise Deputy Chief Pete Ritter said in a statement. “The dog came upon the officers quickly and they felt it was about to bite them.” Stropkai disagrees.
“She avoided them,” Stropkai told KBOI-TV. “She walked around them. She never stopped. She never ran towards them.” Evidence supports Stropkai’s version of events. Kita was shot in the back of the head from a mere 3 feet away and Stropkai was left to explain to her son why a peace officer had taken his friend away.
“I ran towards her and grabbed her face, but you could already tell,” Stropkai said to the Idaho Statesman.
“I felt her take her last breath, and she was dead.”
“He screamed,” Stropkai said of her son. “Luckily, one of the neighbors, swooped him up and took him inside because she saw the reaction on his face. He just saw his best friend get shot. He’s never seen anything like that before.”
Charles McClure, Boise Police spokesperson, said that a review had been conducted and that it appeared the officers were within their rights and following police policy. Deputy Chief Ritter calling Kita’s death “unfortunate.”
Unfortunate. Unfortunate that Stropkai’s 2-year-old son had to learn about violence and killing, a mere 10-feet from his front door. Unfortunate that her toddler’s first experience with the police was witnessing them needlessly kill a family member. Unfortunate that Stropkai must now attempt to keep six tiny puppies alive with a bottle. Unfortunate that Stropkai’s family is one member smaller for something so senseless.
“You could have kicked my dog away from you and she would still be here,” she said. “She could have a broken rib or something, and I would take care of her, but she would still be here. He didn’t have to kill her.”
A note from the author: I’ve studied numerous cases of dogs being unnecessarily shot by police officers around the country. This phenomenon is happening thousands of times annually in the United States. As a filmmaker I’ve taken up the cause of exposing this ongoing problem in my upcoming documentary, Puppycide. The film needs the support of passionate activists to help it to come to fruition. Find out how you can support the project here.
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