An Idaho police officer who shot and killed a small black lab sitting inside a vehicle this week has been telling investigators that the dog was a “vicious” pit bull.
According to reports, an officer with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department was called out to a local coffee shop Wednesday after the shop’s owner spotted a “suspicious” van in the parking lot. The van, owned by Craig Jones, allegedly matched the description of a vehicle in a child luring case.
Upon arriving, the officer approached the vehicle with his weapon drawn when 2-year-old “Arfie” began barking from the driver’s seat. The officer claims that is when the dog, which he described as a “vicious” pit bull, “lunged” out of the half-open window and attempted to bite his face.
The officer “defended his life” by firing through the window, striking the dog once in the chest.
Jones, who was inside the coffee shop eating breakfast at the time, was shocked to look up and see a bullet hole in his van.
“This still isn’t even real,” Jones told KREM 2 News. “This is so unrealistic to me.”
Jones says Arfie never displayed violent behavior towards others, refuting claims by the officer that his dog was violent or vicious.
“He was raised with me from day one,” Jones said. “He goes with me everywhere.”
Police later determined that Jones’ van was not the vehicle wanted in connection with the child luring case.
“If my dog is barking and wondering who’s peering in the windows, whether your a cop, judge, attorney, President Bush, he doesn’t know any difference,” Jones said. “So really? You’re just going to shoot somebody’s dog?”
Jesse Johnson, who was across the street at her home during the shooting, says the incident was completely unjustified.
“We came outside and saw a police officer with a gun in his hand,” Johnson said. “I was scared when we heard the gun shots you know. I have kids.”
A Coeur d’Alene police sergeant responded to the incident by saying that the officer was “very distraught” and unable to use his pepper spray because all dogs react differently in “attack situations.” The sergeant made no comment on why the officer had told investigators that the dog was a pit bull.
Unfortunately, such situations have become increasingly common.
Just last March, a Michigan police officer shot and killed a 10-month-old puppy after wandering into the owner’s yard during a foot pursuit. The officer claimed he “feared for his life” when the puppy suddenly “charged” towards him.
That same month, a Pennsylvania state trooper unloaded his firearm at a family’s dog as it stood only feet from a 5-year-old’s bedroom window. A suspect alleged to be in the home had moved from the residence months prior.
An Idaho officer captured on a police dash cam was cleared of wrongdoing after shooting and killing a man’s service dog outside a 9-year-old’s birthday party last February. The video showed the officer kicking at the dog several times before opening fire.
Responding to a domestic violence call, a police officer in Austin, Texas shot and killed a dog playing Frisbee with its owner after walking onto the wrong property in 2012.