Anne Arundel County police say an officer shot and killed a family’s dog on Saturday while investigating a burglary in a neighborhood in Pasadena, Md.
Police said officer Rodney Price – who has been on the force for one year – was canvassing on Lombardee Circle for witnesses to a burglary around 4 p.m. when a dog – a male Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Vern – “confronted” him. That’s when police say the officer shot the dog twice and killed him, The Baltimore Sun reports.
The officer claims he acted in self-defense when the 4-year-old dog attacked him.
Vern’s owner, Mike Reeves, who left for active duty in Iraq Monday, told ABC2 News, “It’s tough to leave town any time. Now [it’s] really tough.”
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Members of the Reeves family said Vern was never aggressive, and was always gentle.
Police Chief Kevin Davis said his department will conduct a full investigation into the shooting and understands how traumatic the incident is for the family of the dog and for the officer Price. He met with the Reeves family at the home to express his sympathies.
"My deepest condolences go out to the family of 'Vern' during this extremely difficult time,” Davis said in a statement. "I personally met with the family at their residence to let them know that our department will be conducting an internal investigation into the incident to ensure that all of the pertinent facts are known, and to advance discussions regarding best practices for law enforcement when encountering animals."
The hope of Tonya Reeves, Michael’s wife, is for the county police department to incorporate more officer training to teach them how to better handle these kinds of situations.