HOMETOWN, IL — A family says that while rounding up their loose puppy, a police officer arrived and shot it in the head, in its own yard, in close proximity to several onlookers, the owner, and a horrified child.
Apollo the dog, a 1-year-old shepherd-mix, had briefly gotten out of its yard on June 25th, 2014, and was being corralled his family. Owner Nicole Echlin and her 6-year-old daughter had already gotten Apollo to come back to their yard when a representative from the Hometown Police Department arrived in front of their house.
Instead of assisting the family in tying up the dog, or doing anything resembling public service, Officer Robert Norris drew his gun. The quiet residential street was rocked when the officer abruptly shot dog in the head. NBC interviewed witnesses and reported the story:
“We were in the lawn and the cop already had his gun out,” said owner Nicole Echlin. “I tried to call him in the house and he just stood there staring and I guess he showed his teeth and the cop just shot him, right in front of me and my 6-year-old daughter.”
Echlin said her young daughter “started screaming” after the shooting.
Witnesses said it didn’t appear that the dog was attacking officers or provoking them before the shooting.
“The dog wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t see it doing anything, it wasn’t barking,” said witness and area resident Nicco Torres. “Then I saw a cop shoot the dog, the dog fell to ground on the lawn. I saw through the window the dog was on the floor shot but the dog was still moving, it was moving its legs like it was trying to run but it was laying down.”
Family said the dog had no history of aggression and did not attempt to attack officers at the scene. They claim they were told by officers that the dog showed its teeth.
Officer Robert Norris remains on the job, pending an investigation.
The Echelins are just the latest family to experience the nationwide plague of fearful, trigger-happy police officers who needlessly gun down beloved family pets as a first-resort. Too often, these officers lack the discretion and restraint necessary to resolve situations without the use of force — maximum force — and are subsequently protected by their superiors. Only organized and persistent citizen outrage can create the pressure necessary to remove violent officers from their subsidized employment.