Two San Diego police officers responding to a domestic disturbance call at 5am Sunday reportedly knocked on the door of the wrong house. Resident Ian Anderson was awakened by the knocking as was his 6 year old service dog who began barking. The dog, called Burberry, can be seen on surveillance video approaching the first officer who pets him in greeting. Burberry then exuberantly approaches the second officer who was reportedly screaming at the dog for reasons unknown. The second officer pulls out his gun and, out of camera view, shoots Burberry in the head, killing him while his owner watches in horror.
Mr. Anderson is devastated:
Anderson is heartbroken at losing the dog he says has helped children with Down Syndrome as well as helping him get through his own anxiety-ridden time dealing with his father’s death.
“They’re there to put their heads on your lap and you know everything is going to be okay. There’s just no way to explain the bond,” he said.
“He was the best dog in the entire world,” Anderson said through tears. “I would do anything to have him back right now. Absolutely anything.”
The San Diego police department is investigating itself in the matter and refusing to comment.
Burberry’s killing appears to be yet another case of police officers having one tool in the toolbox for dealing with dogs, whose body language and behavior as domesticated pets is apparently something alien. Since so many people who pay police to protect them have dogs, officers should at least have a basic understanding of canine behavior as well as training in non-lethal restraint methods for use when appropriate. The San Diego PD needs to do better than relying solely on the Scream and Shoot tactical response when encountering pets.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)