Metro Police Officer Shoots Dog at Outdoor Festival

If you are attending a street festival in Washington D.C. with your friendly foster dog, the last thing you’d want to have happen is for your dog to get into a fight with someone else’s dog.  It’s likely that terrible dog noises, tangled leashes and localized chaos would ensue.  But if you are alert and act quickly to defuse the situation, you can likely get the dogs separated and each owner can get his dog under control once again.

This is apparently the gist of what happened yesterday at the Adams Morgan Day Festival in D.C.  Just as both owners were likely having a “Whew!” moment, Metro PD arrived on the scene.  The foster dog’s owner, via spokesman, says an officer knocked him off his dog, a Shar-Pei/Pitbull mix called Parrot, and then put a knee in the dog’s back and pulled his forelegs behind him “as one would do with an armed criminal”.  While this sounds bizarre to me, what the owner’s spokesman alleges happened next is truly alarming:

[T]he policeman grabbed Parrot, lifted him off the ground, and brought him to the top of the concrete staircase. He threw Parrot over the banister, down twelve steps, and onto the concrete floor. Then, the policeman stood at the top of the stairs, drew his weapon, and executed Parrot.

The Metro Police Chief had an early response to the event:

All I know is that there is one dog who was attacked by the pit bull and 3 people, including a K9 officer, that were bitten by the pit bull.

Obviously each side is painting a very different picture.  The owner is describing an unfortunate, but often manageable, situation where two leashed dogs get into a fight and then are subdued by the owners.  The police chief seems to be describing an out of control dog on a biting spree at a crowded street event that had to be shot to death for the safety of the public.

Regardless of which version of events is accurate, the one point seems indisputable:  the officer had Parrot completely under control when he had him pinned to the ground.  The second link above contains a link to a photograph of the officer and the subdued dog.  The officer could have reasonably done a few different things at that point including returning the dog to the owner or having AC remove the dog from the scene.  Shooting the dog to death is not a reasonable action to my mind in this sequence of events.

If the dog had bitten 3 people and was threatening the officer and charging toward him unrestrained by the owner, I could understand the officer fearing for his safety and using mace or a baton or taser on the dog (not a gun obviously, at a D.C. street fair!).  But clearly that was not the case here, as the photograph shows.  The dog was subdued and no threat to anyone.

I’ll be interested to see how this story develops and will post updates if I see any.

Thank you Susan R. for the link.

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19 Comments

  1. We live in the DC metro area and I came across this today reading the Washington Post metro section. I can’t imagine how things could have gone so wrong, so fast. My sympathies to the foster.

    Reply
  2. That picture of the office restraining the dog shows a dog who is under control, or at least under control enough that someone could have slipped a muzzle on the dog – you can easily make a temporary muzzle out of a leash, which this dog had on. In fact, the dog still had the leash on when he was flung over the balcony. And down a flight of steps. In an attempt to injure him so that he would be further subdued. Since when is that appropriate?

    I’m so upset about this and so sick of police trying to cover their actions by pretending the dog was on some kind of rampage. What a crappy way to start a Monday.

    Reply
    • A picture is only a picture and only captures a fracture of a second of what really happened. So you can’t say as an absolute that the dog was easy to control and put a muzzle on.

      “I’m so upset about this and so sick of police trying to cover their actions by pretending the dog was on some kind of rampage”

      You can’t say the police are trying to cover their actions either. The only time I’ve ever seen a video or heard a news report of a cop shooting a pitbull (or any dog) is if if ever charged at them, just recently attacked and hurt something, or is showing a deep lever of aggression.

      Reply
    • “In an attempt to injure him so that he would be further subdued.”

      Where’s proof of this? Last time I checked the cop did it because that was a zone free of people and animals.

      If he really wanted to injuer the dog, he could have shot it then and there, beat it across the head, or do something that would cause more bodily harm to the dog.

      Pitbulls are sturdy animals, they’re not invincible, but sturdy. The flight of stairs I saw in that image were pretty shallow from what I saw, so I really doubt the dog broke anything.

      Reply
  3. This disturbs me on a couple of different levels.

    First: When the officer tried to immobilize dog in exactly the same way he would a human being he not only displayed an absolutely stunning degree of ignorance about canine anatomy and psychology; he also appears to have demonstrated that he has swallowed the worst part of the ‘pet parent’ ideal hook line and stinker. This man saw that dog as a person and he reacted accordingly.

    When you add that to the pointlessly violence way the officer responded to the situation and it sounds to me like he’s the one we should be afraid of.

    Reply
    • Why are people here presuming things that aren’t necessarily true or believe things that have no evidence to back it up?

      I’ve not seen on photo or video footage of parrot being restrained in this manner. And that honestly makes no sense to do so because that would take more time and strength that I’m sure the officer wouldn’t have been able to put out within several seconds to a minute.

      Such a position is painful to a dog, and if someone tried that it’s more likely the dog would strongly react and wit ha pitbull mix, I’m sure would easily do damage or get away.

      I think it’s horrible what he did to that dog as I’m a lover of pitbulls. However, pitbulls are strong and can be dangerous dogs. The fact that he broke the bones of another dog it a serious matter and if he was being that vicious, the best thing to do in THAT situation is put the dog down.

      There’s a difference from a scuffle and a fight. The poodle mix seems to be a reasonable size and the pitbull strong. And due to the amount of injury seen on the poodle, it doesn’t seem as though this was a mere scuffle.

      Reply
  4. Susan

     /  September 13, 2010

    Believe me, I live here and I AM afraid of our police officers. I am a lawyer and if I had been there I would have had to speak up, and that would have landed me in jail at a minimum – you don’t commit contempt of cop in DC. I might have ended up with something bruised or broken. I know enough true stories that I do not doubt this account for one instant. And the witness accounts are overwhelmingly consistent, just a few contrary details – and of course the usual “pit bull” phobes. The Police Chief’s statement says he was a K-9 officer – he didn’t have a muzzle? He didn’t know anything about how to deal with a dog? He didn’t think to call Animal Control, which properly should deal with these situations? He couldn’t shove the dog into the back of his squad car and DRIVE him to the DC Humane Society, which is 10 minutes away and the AC headquarters? (there is a barrier between the front and back seats, for obvious reasons). I do not expect any accountability, from long experience. But this was a tragic FAIL.

    Reply
  5. Susan

     /  September 13, 2010

    This makes me ill.

    Reply
  6. Arlene

     /  September 13, 2010

    K-9 officer? This officer has no common sense. He should not be anywhere near dogs. There was no reason for him to handle the dog that way, pinning his legs behind him and most especially throwing over a balcony and shooting that little dog.

    This Police Chief needs to take acountablilty for that poor excuse for an officer and remove him from duty. He not only killed a dog that was already subdued but endangered a family event. The whole thing makes me sick.

    Reply
  7. This is just sickening to me, especially in looking at the picture, where the dog is literally totally subdued and unable to attack or do ANYthing.

    With all the conflicting stories in the comments, it’s hard to say which is true, but I would lean towards the poodle being the aggressor, the pit being subdued plenty long before it was shot, and this cop needing to learn a LOT more before he’s allowed back on the streets with a gun.

    Reply
  8. alice in LALA land

     /  September 13, 2010

    the dog was a “pit bull” mix.. not a “pit bull”.. but no matter.. if you were an octoroon you were black.. that is what we not think of when we think of “pit bulls” while I don;t like to compare people with animals.. this is a case of pure out and out police power gone awry.. shootings of dogs are becoming more and more common.. people will be next.. or are they already

    Reply
  9. Every time I drive with my Rott mix in the car I hope we get to where we are going.

    I have never had a bad experience with a police officer, yet.

    Perhaps people with big dogs should muzzle them in public, to protect the dog.

    Reply
    • And protect the people or other animals they may attack.

      I think overall. People should be wary of how their dogs react in certain situations and around certain beings.

      Parrot could’ve been heavily excited by the crowds and noise and his natural instinct that he was lineage was bred for (to fight) could have kicked in. This seems to happen a lot with breeds of dogs who have a high prey drive, or are bred to fight.

      Reply
  10. Redemptionis†

     /  September 13, 2010

    http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/17017618

    He is listed as “Adopted” from “Lucky Dog Animal Rescue”… (Oh, the irony). Poor Parrot. RIP, boy.

    Reply
  11. Redemptionis†

     /  September 13, 2010

    P.S. The dog rescue group has created a fund in memory of Parrot:

    http://www.luckydoganimalrescue.org/parrots-fund

    Reply
  12. Baltimore Friend to Animals

     /  September 13, 2010

    THANK YOU FOR REPORTING ON THIS OUTRAGE. I worked with the dog, Parrot, before he was sent to foster. He was sweet, appropriately energetic and did not show me any aggression (dog or human). As a 130 lb woman I could totally control him. I cried when I read this on the Baltimoresun.com column, Unleashed. Another sweet soul taken away too soon.

    Reply
  13. checi

     /  September 14, 2010

    Cops do so love to kill don’t they? This dog killing spree all across the country is how they seem to be practicing and keeping their killing skills alive.

    Reply
  14. Sandi Horsman

     /  September 18, 2010

    This is unfortunately the result too often lately. Unfortunately it hasn’t been restricted to dogs. Police officers are getting away with MURDER be it dogs or people. They are way too trigger happy lately and unfortunately its becoming way WAY to common all over apparently “civilized” countries. I’m thinking there should be more psychological testing for these “peace officers” before we send them out in public armed. These officers that discharge weapons in crowded areas are putting thousands of lives in danger everyday and should be held accountable. The owners of Parrots should be suing the city, the police force and the officer himself. The attack on this dog was not only unwarrented but just plain evil. I certainly wouldn’t feel safe in a place where people with obvious issues are armed and apparently allowed to shoot at will.

    Reply
  15. Lynn

     /  September 20, 2010

    Shame on that police officer! What a cruel way to handle a dog! This is very sad and uncalled for. This shows how much we have to protect our pets and maybe not take them to public events like this, who knows what another officer may do if two dogs get into a fight etc. SCARY…..

    Reply

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