A couple living in a north Minneapolis neighborhood claim a police officer unjustly shot their dog Friday night while police were searching the area for a suspected car thief.
Paul Trott said he let his two dogs out not knowing that the suspected thief had broken the gate on his backyard fence while trying to escape from police.
The dogs — two Cane Corsos named Tito and Vita — immediately ran to the alley beyond the open gate. Trott said he called to the dogs and was quickly joined by his partner Josh Lyczkowski.
“And I’m yelling for Tito and Vita, calling their names,” Trott recounted. “Josh immediately heads out the door and he’s doing the same thing, calling for them.”
“And I hear, ‘No! Don’t! Stop!’ very quickly,” Lyczkowski told CBS-Minnesota. “And then I hear a bang. And I knew something happened.”
One of the officers conducting the search in the alley had shot and killed 120-pound Tito.
“The only thing (the police) kept saying is, ‘You weren't here, you don't know what's going on, you don't have time to discern pet from animal and in our mind they're just animals,’” Trott told the Minneapolis City Pages blog. “It was, shoot first, think later.
“Tito was a large dog, I mean he was quite large, but he certainly wasn’t aggressive in any way,” Trott added.
Trott and Lyczkowski both think the officer could have taken more time to determine if their dog posed a real threat. Trott pointed out that Tito was wearing a collar with tags and was clearly not a stray.
In response to the incident, the Minneapolis Police Department issued a statement explaining how officers are instructed to handle encounters with animals.
“Police officers are placed into situations where, at times, they must make immediate decisions based on only the facts that are present at that moment. The officers are mandated to make the decisions to preserve their own safety as well as the safety of others,” the statement read. “The decision to shoot, or harm, an animal is not made lightly, but at times must be made immediately.”
Trott indicated that he does plan to seek some sort of recourse with the department.
“We are most definitely going to pursue some reimbursement,” he said.
“But it's not about the money,” Trott added. “It's just about getting some attention to this issue. [The police] need to get control over what they're doing. When looking at domestic animals —people's companions — shoot first, think later isn't a good approach.”
Photo Source: Facebook: Josh Lyczkowski