A police officer in Weslaco, Texas, shot and killed a family's dog on April 9. The family says they have dog warning signs all over their property, which the cop ignored (video below).
"It’s like losing a family member," Manuel Garcia told KRGV. "He got shot, and they wouldn’t let me take him to the hospital."
According to Garcia, his family was inside their home when they heard two gunshots. When the Garcias opened their door, they saw a cop pointing a gun at their wounded 4-year-old pit bull, Gator.
"He took it upon himself to fail to see the signs [when] he came into my yard," Garcia added.
The Garcia's home has "Beware of Dog" signs hanging on their chain linked fence.
Garcia recalled: "He’s like, 'The dog attacked me,' and I said, 'He’s doing his job.'"
Garcia said that there is not enough room for parking in front of his home, and his cars sit in the back. On April 9, Garcia had his truck parked in the front.
"[The cop] said we were illegally parked, that he was going to ask us to move the truck," Garcia stated.
According to Garcia, the cop did not let the family know that he was outside.
"He never sounded his horn, he didn’t [sound] his siren, he didn’t use his microphone," Garcia added. "He didn’t try to reach us, he didn’t rattle the fence."
The Weslaco Police Department issued a statement to the news station:
The officer approached the gated residence and made entry through the unlocked gate. Once inside the property the officer observed a large gray Pitbull running towards him.
In the officers attempt to kick the dog, it became more aggressive and bit down on the front portion of the officer’s boot. It was at this time the officer feared for his safety and discharged two rounds from his service weapon striking the dog.
Garcia has put a lock on his fence in an attempt to prevent something similar happening in the future, as he does have other dogs.
There are no required official records on how many dogs (or humans) police kill every year in the U.S., but Laurel Matthews of the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services told PoliceMag.com in 2014 that an estimated 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed every day by police.
Mildred K. "Missy" O'Linn, a lawyer who defends police officers and departments in civil lawsuits, added: "The public cares about these kinds of incidents on a magnitude that is sometimes lost on the law enforcement community."