Officer Shoots Dog, City Refuses To Reimburse Vet Bills

| by Tony Tran
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After a Honolulu police officer shot her dog in September, the City and County of Honolulu is refusing to reimburse Kristen Butac’s $1,600 veterinary bill.

According to local station KHON, three police officers were investigating a separate domestic disturbance call from one of Butac’s neighbors when her dog, a three-year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Bruce, escaped its home and allegedly lunged at the officers. Though two officers were able to get out of the way, one shot the dog.

Butac told the Huffington Post that while she was not home when the incident occurred, there was a lot of activity at her house when she got there.

“It was scary. When we first got there, they said that after Bruce got shot, he ran,” she said. “I wanted to go find him, but I couldn’t leave the premises.”

Bruce had been hiding behind the house and came out when he heard Butac.

“He was bleeding pretty bad,” Butac told reporters. “I started panicking.”

Though Bruce was injured, Butac was not allowed to take him to the vet for an hour because officers said that it was procedure to open up an investigation any time an officer discharges their firearm.

“Apparently they couldn’t find the bullet when they shot my dog,” Butac said. “That got us worried, because we didn’t know if the bullet was still inside my dog. We wanted to get him checked right away.”

Butac was later able to take Bruce to the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center of Hawaii where he was taken care of. According to the Huffington Post, “The bullet had entered and exited his chest without damaging any organs.”

Butac filed a claim with the city to be reimbursed for the $1,600 veterinary fee but was denied the claim, saying “there was no improper conduct on the part of the Honolulu Police Department officers.”

Captain Rade Vanic, spokesman for the Honolulu Police Department, said in an email that he couldn’t comment on the case due to the fact that it is currently pending with city attorneys. However, he went on to say that the HPD “takes all firearm discharges seriously, especially ones that result in injury, even injury to animals. HPD is in the process of reviewing the incident and will take appropriate action if warranted.”

Sources: The Huffington Post, KHON-TV Photo Credit: Wikipedia