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Police officer charged with animal cruelty after video shows him killing therapy dog

P8010053_thumb By Tamara | December 20, 2012 | Comments (31)

A dog was fatally shot by police officers while staying with her owner's relatives

Dog owner Gary Branson is hoping justice will be served for his dog Chloe after an officer fatally shot her while she was at a relative’s home in Commerce City, Colorado.

Commerce City Police Officer Robert Price was filmed on November 24th fatally shooting the 3-year-old Labrador Retriever mix.

Police asked the district attorney's office to conduct an investigation into the incident and as result, investigators found evidence to charge the officer with aggravated cruelty to animals, a class six felony. Other aspects of the case are still under investigation by the Adams County District Attorney's office.

A neighbor filmed footage of the incident and posted it online. Dog lovers were immediately angered and questioned why Chloe was tasered twice and then shot multiple times after the video footage appeared to indicate the dog was scared rather than "vicious" as police stated after the shooting.

Police had received a 911 call from Kenny Collins who noticed an unfamiliar dog loose on the street. At the time, Kenny was unaware his neighbor was taking care of Chloe for a cousin during the holidays, and had no idea that the dog would end up dead as result of his call. Collins called 911 after the dog barked outside of their house and kept barking and appeared confrontational.

His neighbor later said she had left Chloe in the garage while she went out shopping, but said the dog must have triggered the garage door sensor and gotten out by accident. She faces violations of including possession of a vicious animal and violation of the city's Pit Bull ban.

Kenny's' son filmed the police handling Chloe on his cell phone from across the street. Although police maintain that the dog was aggressive, according to Kenny, the dog sat inside the open garage for about 30 minutes near her dog bed while officers decided what to do. The video footage shows that after Chloe was tased, she dropped and then tried to run out of the garage, when she was caught by the animal control officer with a catch pole. She appears to be frightened and trying to escape the catch pole, when she was then shot at five times.

officers were filmed fatally shooting a family dog

Kenny Collins told 9News Denver, "Obviously, she was distraught." Kenny completely disagreed with the police officers' statement that the dog was aggressive. He said that from what he saw and from what the video shows, the dog was scared. "I totally disagree with it, totally," Kenny said. "The dog was not attacking people and that's not what I said when I called 911."

Kenny does, however, refer to the dog as aggressive in his recorded 911 call, stating: We're the Collins family. We got a dog that's aggressive out here. It's like a big pit bull mix something. He's outside of our house, barking out our windows and stuff. [He's] barking at our neighbors. He's a big one. If I tap on the window he keeps barking at us [and] being confrontational - and we're in the house.

Gary is a retired resident of Pueblo and said Chloe was a friendly, gentle dog. She was with him all the time and even served as his therapy dog after he had triple-bypass heart surgery.

"She was friendly with everybody," Gary said. "She loved being around people, loved attention. My youngest niece, who is 5, and Chloe were pretty much best friends." He said the dog never had any behavioral issues.

He is now considering legal action against the Commerce City Police Department and has retained the services of attorney Jennifer Edwards of the Animal Law Center in Wheat Ridge.

According to the Examiner, Edwards accused police of "visual discrimination" against Chloe. Commerce City has a city ordinance banning pit bulls in the city, but Edwards questioned whether Chloe had much pit bull DNA. "I don't know if she had any pit bull in her," Edwards said. "If so, it was very minimal. She was at least half Labrador Retriever."

She said another dog, a Labrador named Jack, was also in the garage of the home in the 9600 block of Nucla Street where the shooting happened. Jack ran loose after the shots were fired and Edwards said police did not seem concerned about him running free.

Jennifer Edwards added that the officers should have known how to read the dog's body language. She said, "I don't think that most departments and most officers hate dogs - this is more a fear reaction."

For Gary, he is hoping for justice. "It's not something I want to remember. It's like losing a family member," he said. "I just hope justice prevails and Chloe's name is cleared."

Below is raw video footage of incident. WARNING: Graphic Content may be disturbing to viewers. 




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Comments on this Article

Some states are different for video cops. In some instancs you have to say your video taping to a Police officer. They can requst you to stop it and you should but say your shutting off under protest. some laws have a law were you can't record without other people contest
What a bunch of you know what!!! Watching this video made me absolutely sick! There was no reason they had to shoot this poor baby, and right in front of the neighbors. Really! I seriously hope the officers who were in involved are brought up on chages. This poor girl just sat in the garage the whole time. If she had been aggressive she would have shown aggression and it's obvious by the video that she did nothing but sit and wait.
What a POS! Really? That pussy is afraid of a dog so much that he had to kill him? And I'm supposed to trust people like him to protect people like me? Give me a break! I hope that police officer has his ass thrown in jail where it belongs... or may karma do the same to him someday soon!
My letter to Police Chief Chuck Saunier on Dec. 22, 2012 generated what seems to be an automated reply. Here is what the reply from the chief's office says: ""Thank you for your email to the Chief of Police Chuck Saunier. The city is currently investigating this weekend's fatal shooting. The police department has asked the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office to take over this investigation to ensure a thorough and unbiased third-party review. Using this kind of force is not something officers do lightly. The home video is disturbing and it is a tragedy anytime an officer has to use their weapon to ensure community safety. You can read the police department's entire statement online and hear the 911 call and dispatch tapes of the incident. As the Chief of Police, I am supportive of a thorough investigative process and look forward to hearing the what and why of this tragic event. It would be inappropriate for me to speculate further given the investigation is underway and we don't have all the facts at this time. I expect the results of this outside investigation to be shared with the community in a transparent manner. Thank you again for your comments. Sincerely, Chuck Saunier Chief of Police""
A website for Chloe has just gone up! http://www.justiceforchloe.com/
The Supreme Court said police can be video taped at ant time. But that being said they will arrest you if they have been caught doing something illegal. The police are corrupt as any gangster that has ever been. I worked for law enforcement for several years and you have no idea what they do out there and in court against you...
Totally agree, Doxie, but I'll tell you this.. If let my Roxy (an APBT) were out in our gated yard to go potty and I heard gun shots.. First, I'm grabbing my gun and if someone, uniform or not, had jumped my gate and shot my girl, I'm shooting back and my own surveillance cameras can tell the story. I will not be violated and I will not allow my family, two and four legged, to be violated either. And I got a call from my Senator and told him as much. People are already pushing back when it comes to our rights and it's going to happen. A trigger happy cop is going to shoot the wrong persons dog and they are going to shoot back and imo, will be totally justified if it's on their own private property like most of these cases are. I hope the "cop" in this case gets the max. Time, job lost, banned from ever owning a gun or an animal. It won't bring Chloe back, but maybe these half cocked "cops" will start thinking twice before committing these types of crime. They also need to be taught the value of life as well, because apparently their parents failed in teaching that lesson. And I do not believe in violence, but I am a mother and an animal lover and I have had it with these people.
@michelle Palmertree I am not sure which states or which cities in the US have such rules to not allow video taping of police, but I've seen a few YouTube videos of police arresting or confiscating cameras. I know we have rights and so do those who are shown being arrested. Yet, they (the police) further violate people's rights simply because they don't want to be caught in the act of abusing people. Funny, they can video tape a traffic infraction either by dash cams or by street cameras, and they can spy on protesters, but the public can't document human rights violations by police. All this is, is a matter of power...they have it and the average person with a hand held camera doesn't have much power to fight the system. If you try to tell them about constitutional rights, they simply begin to violate you instead. Our democracy is fast being hijacked by a police state sanctioned by organizations such as Homeland Security, FEMA, TSA, FBI and others. Ever since the Patriot Act, these organizations along with local police have been training together and sharing information with each other. Thus, instead of the police being some local entity, they now are a part of a broader spectrum of a nationalized police and that gives them the feeling of unbridled power to basically do what they want. The Patriot Act allows them many rights they never had before. Now testosterone driven macho policeman that get off on beating people and animals, are with much more power than ever before. By the way, I have written an email to the police chief of Commerce City Police in colorado where these officers are working. The chief's name is Chief Chuck Sunier, and his email address is csaunier@c3gov.com. I wrote to him urging him to prosecute officer Robert Price for the cruel way in which he murdered a loving dog that as scared. Please write to him also, and let him know how outraged you are and how the chief needs to do the right thing and prosecute the officer.
Meant to add... This pertains to the U.S. only. It is illegal in the UK. I don't know about other countries.
@Doxie Dad: It is perfectly legal for us to film police. They can tell you to stop filming, but you can tell them no and continue filming and there is nothing they can do about it. They cannot take your phone or any other recording device without your consent. It is our First Amendment right. As long you do not interfere, you are good and they can't stand it. ;)
Now it becomes clear to me why many local police departments have laws FORBIDDING any video taping of them. Yet, they can video tape us from their dash camera and they show up at demonstrations taking videos of protesters, but we can't video tape them doing harm to animals or people. Are you getting the feeling after reading that and reading the laws of the Patriot Act that you are beginning to live in a tyrannical country?
ummmm, what if the shoe was on the other foot and someone shot a police K-9 dog? I bet they would be charged with cruelty to animals and spend some time in jail. I think thats what this police man should do, time and be fired.
This is so wrong in so many ways. Police think they have a license to antagonize and aggravate the dogs and shoot them. In this case 5 TIMES?!? Absolutely uncalled for. This cop should be charged and have his gun taken away. Cops are just too quick to pull the trigger. IDIOTS.
It was very obvious that the dog was frightened, hurt and trying to get away. And so what, if she were a Pit or Pit mix?? Does that give them the right to kill her ? Seems that it's getting to a point in this country that if the dog dosen't look like a poodle or maltese then it's a "viscous " pitbull and should be destroyed! Give me a bully breed over an ankle biter any day. I hope all involved in this murder gets what they deserve and then some !
This killing makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The officer clearly is not justified in his actions. This dog was sitting peacefully in the garage where it belonged not causing a disturbance. It is a shame the busybody neighbor had to get involved in the first place; otherwise, Chloe might still be alive today. His overreaction led the Police to believe that Chloe was an aggressive Pit Bull instead of a Labrador mix Service Dog simply out, looking for its Handler. The animal was in a strange place, being cared for by strangers leaving the dog a bit overwhelmed and confused and now, dead, by a rogue cop who likes to shoot instead of ask questions, and wait for the answers. I hope he truly dislikes the answers he’s going to get now.
What an idiot!! There is alot of time and money put into these dogs to become service dogs! This is THE worst thing I have read in my life!! What the hell was wrong with those officers?? They all should be suspended or fired!!! IDIOTS
Some Good news this happened 12/20/12 Adams County District Attorney Don Quick announced today that his office has made the filing decision concerning the shooting of a dog by Commerce City Police Officer Robert Price on November 24, 2012. On November 27th, the Commerce City Police Department requested the District Attorney’s Office conduct an independent investigation into the shooting. In the last three weeks, District Attorney Investigators have: • Reviewed in detail the reports by the responding officers, both police and animal control officers • Canvassed the neighborhood where the shooting occurred for additional witnesses concerning the dog being loose and/or being shot • Interviewed 15 additional witnesses • Investigated the scene of the shooting • Collected evidence from the scene and from additional witnesses • Received and reviewed the video of the shooting • Received and reviewed the 911 tape concerning the dog being loose • Attended the necropsy of the dog at CSU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and had a forensic pathologist who is an expert in gunshot wounds participate in the necropsy. Based on our investigation, the District Attorney is charging Officer Price with Aggravated Cruelty to Animals pursuant to C.R.S. §18-9-202(1.5)(b). This offense is a class six felony. Other aspects of the case are still under investigation and no other charging decisions have been made, and therefore there will be no further statements from the District Attorney’s Office at this time.
I heard he is gonna be charged! hope the pig goes to prison! poor doggy!
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