COEUR D’ALENE, ID — An officer shot and killed a dog that was waiting for its owner inside of a parked van. The officer later claimed it ‘lunged’ at him, but it was also revealed that he had his gun drawn the entire time.
The dog’s owner was Craig Jones, who was sitting inside a nearby restaurant eating breakfast at the time of the shooting. His black Labrador, ‘Arfie,’ was waiting inside his van, with a window half-opened for ventilation.
A Coeur D’Alene police officer approached the vehicle, apparently because someone called police to report it being a ‘suspicious’ white van that bore similarities to one related to a child-luring case. The unnamed officer went in with his gun already drawn, KREM 2 News reported.
Arfie sat in the van, anticipating his owner’s return. The officer claims that Arfie then “lunged” at him, and he shot the dog in the chest. Arfie died.
A photograph of the scene showed that the bullet had actually traveled through glass to reach the dog.
The officer recorded his actions as necessary to protect himself from a “vicious pit bull,” when the truth was that he killed a black Lab sitting in a parked car. Mr. Jones said the shooting was unbelievable and his dog did not have a mean bone in his body.
Mr. Jones is devastated, the Associated Press reported.
“I didn’t even know if he was still alive. They took him (Arfee) and left me a note, a card, on my windshield. No police officer in sight,” Jones told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “This guy just wounded me so deeply. This will never go away. This was my best friend.”
Jones, who is from Coeur d’Alene but now lives in Colorado, said he was in town because of the recent death of his mother.
Arfee, Jones added, went with him everywhere and his dog’s company was helping him mourn the loss of his mother.
“There’s no way I can just return to Colorado without my dog,” Jones said. “I was planning on moving back up here actually and was just going to go back to get my stuff. But something like this is such a catastrophic thing in my life that I don’t know where I can go to escape it. There’s going to be a cloud over my head for a long time.”
It is difficult to precisely understand the urge that certain police officers feel as they unnecessarily shoot people’s pets while invading their space. It seems apparent, however, that if an officer is too jumpy to restrain his trigger finger when facing a pet, he is a clear liability for using unneeded force against human beings.
There has been no word on the officer’s identity or the department’s intention to fire or discipline him. He was not placed on administrative leave. Jones intends to sue.
Coeur D’Alene Police Department (Idaho)
Phone: (208) 769-2320