San Diego Police Officer at Wrong House Pets Friendly Dog, Watches Partner Shoot Him Seconds Later

Burberry celebrating his 5th birthday with his person and some bacon, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.
Burberry celebrating his 5th birthday with his person and some bacon, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.

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.

Burberry cuddling with a friend, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.
Burberry cuddling with a friend, as shown on the NBC San Diego website.

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.)

22 thoughts on “San Diego Police Officer at Wrong House Pets Friendly Dog, Watches Partner Shoot Him Seconds Later

  1. To add an extra layer of sad on top of this tragedy is the silence from SDPD to a non-profit that offered to train its officers on non-lethal ways to deal with dogs BEFORE this happened. Let’s see if they take them up on their very generous offer now that their asshat ways have been exposed on a national forum.

  2. This is a very sad blemish on my city. I am mortified and am writing various letters to the city council and police department in hopes it helps to get them training in this area

  3. Well, you know, scream and shoot is how they deal with minorities and the mentally ill, so they just figured….

  4. How very tragic!!! The policeman that shot this dog needs to have his gun taken away and removed from the force…no excuse for this….sorry …this just is not right
    …any officer that is this trigger happy does NOT need to own a gun…..I think a petition is in order

  5. This is a problem that’s more common than many people realize. If you have Netflix, search for documentary called “Culture High” and listen to the police audio for the first minute or two and that is often the ones you WON’T hear about. In my state (Georgia) we are developing training for law enf who respond to calls where animals are present to avoid this type of thing from happening and it will be available the first of October of this year. I’ve never understood how an ACO can respond to a call and be armed with no more than a catch pole and/or bite gloves and seize 80 dogs trained to fight without even injuring one but a cop on a call where the family dog barks, will shoot on site. I realize once in a blue moon there may be need for excessive action, but not the majority of the time. They wear bullet proof outer gear so not sure why they can take a bullet but not a barking dog. Of course not all officers are trigger happy, but too many of them appear to be.

  6. One day a kid will be shot by a cop (if hasn’t already happened) trying to protect his/her pet if we don’t all take this issue more seriously and train officers and amend laws that will hold them or the municipality accountable because for most part they are “exempt” while acting ‘in the line of duty’ with very vague definitions of that.

    1. Not long ago a police officer shot a dog hat was playing with 5 year old family member and that 5 year old is probably traumatized from that officers actions. Way to go police officers who kill dogs. Your vision of public safety traumatize the public threw killing their animal family members.

    2. No doubt that will happen. In fact in the case of Burberry, his owner said he was shocked by the officer’s willingness to shoot a dog when he (the owner) and the other officer were almost in the line of fire.

  7. @ Loran, regarding the free training offered to the SDPD, put it in a press release and send to PD AND media and copy both, sometimes that helps ;)

  8. The ACLU report on the militarization of police and consequent hyper-aggression is, I think, relevant:

    Thing is, we’re looking at unnecessary killing and brutalization of pets as if it were a separate issue, and I really don’t think it is. The police aren’t just killing and brutalizing pets because they’ve somehow, mysteriously, lost all understanding of animal behavior in the last 20 odd years. No – it’s a symptom of profound shifts in how our police function, how they train, and in how they’re protected from consequence.

    1. Absolutely — we see it not only in police officers’ treatment of pets, but also in their treatment of individual people, mainly those of color, and in their response to protesters. Military equipment never sits unused in police garages and lockers. It gets used, and brings with it a whole constellation of attitudes and behaviors, expressed both in training and in actions on the job. I can’t easily imagine a police arms reduction effort getting very far, unfortunately . . . so it’s hard to see how we will ever get rid of these items that have proved so poisonous in our communities.

      1. The Guardian is running a series on the lack of transparency in US policing, its causes and possible approaches to reform – this is part two:

        There’s a link to part one just under the first paragraph. Again, not about pets – nor are they mentioned in this – but … wasn’t it just earlier this year, that the FBI said it’d start keeping statistics on pets killed by police? Yet according to this series, they can’t even accurately keep statistics on people killed – nor can anyone else, though there are possible approaches which might improve data capture.

  9. This was a single issue story and too many of these comments don’t apply. I looked at all the videos and the owner made a mistake by letting the dog run out. Granted officer #2 MAY have over reacted but when you have a large dog of any breed but especially one of the “dangerous” classes you have to be respectful that many people are going to have fears and phobias and it is not thoughtful to let your dog run around if you don’t know them, and as this case proves can be harmful to the pet.

    1. It’s not thoughtful, no, but it ought not to be a death sentence. That’s the actual point.

      I can understand being fearful – I was once myself. But, by its nature police work will bring officers in contact with dogs. Other animals, too, but especially dogs. This is not new. The police and boisterous dogs have been encountering one another since the police began.

      Thus, it behooves them to know a bit about dogs, and how to cope with them. It behooves them, if they are fearful of dogs, to learn how to control it.

      Deadly force should never be the first resort, and fear, in and of itself, is not a sufficient excuse for it.

    2. The “I was in fear of my life” defense is SO overused. He’d just seen his partner petting the dog, so obviously the dog isn’t a vicious monster, and if he’s so terrified of dogs, he should have told the owner to put the dog in the house, but no, he waits until the dog approachs him and he just shoots it. Honest to xhrist, if an adult is so dumb that, knowing they are scared of dogs, they don’t learn the very simple tactic of ‘Be a tree’ that’s taught to five-year olds, they should never be allowed to graduate from a police training academy and be given a gun.

    3. I partly agree with you. The officer’s action was wrong and a fear-based mistake. If the officer had understood dogs better, or dog body language, then it would have been clear Burberry was not aggressive. But a lot of people don’t know how to read dog actions or dog body language.
      But it is precisely because police (and other people) will make such fear-motivated mistakes that we dog owners have to go above and beyond in keeping our dogs restrained and safe.

  10. This happen to my dog, they were serving a bs search warrant on my house bust my front door down and had a gun pointed to teenage son head while he had his foot on neck area. My dog didn’t know what was going on they wouldn’t let the teenage put dogs in back yard dog was grawling so officer shot my dog in face. Lots of $$$ later out my pocket he survived. When they called to tell us they shot him they told us they had taken him to animal control and would pay to uthanize him. When I called they told me my son was a drug dealer put yet when they search my house they found nothing not even residue or baggies I mean nothing! But yet he was supose to be a drug dealer. Come to find out that old saying watch who you hang out with its a reflection of you. That’s the day I lost all respect for police. They had no regaurd I did nothing wrong and that was my child!

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