A Detroit police officer who fatally shot and killed a dog after it attacked her K-9 partner will not be reprimanded. The disturbing incident was caught on video and has since gone viral on social media.
Police officers from the 9th Precinct were searching for an illegal firearm that was allegedly tossed into a yard while a suspect was fleeing from authorities. Police allegedly asked the homeowner to secure the dog in the yard while they conducted their search in the area, according to the Detroit Free Press.
A Ring doorbell camera captured the moment on Aug. 3 that a Detroit K-9 officer and a dog got into a tussle, despite both animals being separated by a fence. The dog, which was in its own yard, allegedly latched itself onto the K-9’s snout though the fence. The police officer did have her dog on a leash, but was not able to separate the two canines.
The police officer then took out her gun and fatally shot the dog, which Detroit Police claim to have been a pit bull. Graphic footage shows the wounded dog spastically twitching after being shot.
“Her partner was being attacked and we demand that our officers protect not only themselves but their partners and citizens. At this point it was a clear and present danger; her dog was being viciously harmed,” Detroit Police Commander Darin Szilagyi said on Friday. “It’s unfortunate it came to this, we don’t like to see any animal hurt.”
The K-9 officer suffered extensive injuries, including a large rip through the skin of its upper snout and puncture wounds on its upper jawlines, according to the police. The police dog will undergo tests and evaluations to determine whether it is competent to return to police work.
The officer who shot the dog is back on duty after completing counseling. She will not face any consequences for the shooting.
“No matter what, when force is used on a person or animal, it is ugly. No one likes it, I don’t like it, I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I don’t like it,” Szilagyi said, defending the police officer. “But unfortunately it’s necessary if you have life or death situations, and this was a life or death situation, that is the option that a police officer has to use, and I commend the officer for making a decision and coming back to work and taking care of her partner.”
“I’m a dog lover, I own several dogs, I have a responsibility to protect the public from my animals, just like anyone else,” Szilagyi said. “Keep your dogs in the backyards and this won’t be an issue.”
Unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro shared the unsettling video on Twitter, where it has over 3.5 million views. Castro called for the police officer to be “fired and prosecuted.”
(Content Warning: Extremely disturbing and graphic video)