More than 7,000 people have signed a petition in support of the Denver man who was prevented by police from helping an injured dog at the scene of a car crash last week. The man, Ross Knapp, was told by police that he was “impeding an investigation” by trying to help the dog, and that he would be charged if he continued his attempts.
The petition is asking the Denver Police Department to "write an apology to the family, pet and neighbors involved in this tragedy for handling this delicate situation with a complete lack of tact, respect, professionalism, and compassion."
The unidentified dog was hit by an SUV during a car crash. Video footage shows the animal lying in the street and breathing heavily for almost 90 minutes before dying. The Denver Police Department claims officers called Animal Control immediately after arriving at the scene, but a rescue truck from the department didn’t arrive for more than 90 minutes. The dog died minutes before Animal Control arrived.
Knapp spoke to the Denver Channel yesterday about his experience with police as he tried to help the dog.
"One of the officers told me I had to leave and couldn't be near [the dog]," Knapp said. "I tried a couple of times to go back and [the officer] just said I was impeding an investigation … and if I came back, I would be arrested."
Police department spokesman Sonny Jackson insists the officers followed protocol in their handling of the incident.
“You want to do the right thing, you want to help, but you also have to consider the situation, that you could be injured,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s message is consistent with his words from last week, when he said, "It's always about the personal safety of that individual. It's not trying to be cruel to the animal or cruel to the individual. It's best if we get the Animal Control people in there, let them do what they do as experts and let them take the actions.”