Police Shoot Dog Restrained on a Chokepole

An ACO and 2 police officers responded to a loose dog complaint in Commerce City, CO on Saturday.  The caller, Kenny Collins, did not report that the dog was aggressive, simply that she was running loose in the street:

“He never came at me in an aggressive manner,” Collins said.

He said he never feared the dog, but just wanted animal control to pick it up since it was loose.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Collins, the dog, called Chloe, was being cared for by a neighbor who left her in the garage while she went out shopping.  Chloe apparently triggered the sensor on the garage door opener and escaped.  When the ACO and police arrived, Chloe ran back inside the garage, apparently trying to get away from the strangers.  Police officers tazed 3 year old Chloe multiple times and shot at her once and eventually Chloe attempted to leave the garage.  As she walked out of the garage, the ACO caught her in a chokepole.  While the ACO held Chloe in the metal noose on the steel pole, a police officer shot the dog 4 times, killing her.

Mr. Collins’ son filmed the killing on his cell phone.  I have not watched the video but a local news reporter asked Alicia Hall, an animal behavior technician with the Dumb Friends League, to view and comment on it:

“The animal could still potentially be a danger, but if the catch pole is being used appropriately, the animal should be restrained safely. As far as I can see from the video, it looks like the dog actually walked right into the catch pole as it was coming out of the garage and was safely restrained,” Hall said.

Commerce City Police Detective Mike Saunders has a different opinion:

“Yes, the dog was on the catch pole. But, it was the officer’s concern that the animal control agent wasn’t able to maintain control of the animal and the fear was that the animal was going to come off the catch pole and attack the officers or get loose and run back into the neighborhood putting citizens in danger,” Saunders said.

The male officer apparently thought the female ACO was incapable of doing her job and restraining a non-aggressive dog whose neck was in a metal noose on the end of a steel pole while walking from the garage to the ACO truck.  He was concerned citizens might be in danger.  It seems to me that citizens were not in danger until police arrived and began firing in a neighborhood with children present.  One stray bullet hit the AC vehicle.

As usual, police will police themselves on the matter:

Saunders says Commerce City police are now reviewing the video.

“We need time to look at the video. We need time to look over the officer’s report. And we need time to speak to the officer before we can comment,” Saunders said.

Saunders said if there is any wrongdoing, the department will say so.

If you choose to watch the video at the link, please share your impressions.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Leave a comment

20 Comments

  1. I watched the video and the action that took place is very disturbing. It also seems that nobody present in that video has any experience in dealing with a scared dog or dog behavior, including the ACO. Everybody in that video did exactly the opposite of what should have been done. The dog was sitting in the garage when the Police Officer fired the Taser. There was no reason at all to fire the Taser in the first place. Then the dog was on the catch pole and moving around like any dog would do that is strangulated by a catch pole. I do not understand how a Police Officer can pull his gun and starts shooting at a fast jumping/moving dog, putting everybody around him in danger.
    All people involved in this situation terrified the dog and with that contributed to the deadly end. Everybody involved ignored Rule #1: never push a scared dog in a corner.
    If I would have been ACO in that situation, first thing I would have done is sending everybody away from the garage. Then I would have gotten out some snacks for the dog, sat down in front of the garage and just waited.

    Reply
  2. That was totally OVERKILL to hear 5 shots fired at the dog by grown BOYS…… anyone with ANY common sense would know that #1- an animal cannot talk….. therefore its barks and growls are their only communication.
    #2- Agitated? Heck yeah, in an environment of STRANGERS.
    #3- Aggressive? Um, the boys dressed in police garb were. NOT the dog sitting there in part of the video before it was tazed which, was another reason the dog probably looked hysterical afterwards. Let’s taze you officer and see how you react. Then will I have permission to shoot you?
    That kind of force was uncalled for. The choke pole was enough and had you let the ACO do her job, the dog would be alive now, waiting for it’s loving owner to pick her up.

    Reply
  3. mikken

     /  November 26, 2012

    I won’t watch it. I was talking to my local shelter manager about a particular dog and he commented that they started the dog on a catch pole but quickly switched to a lead because “you can tell the difference between a fractious dog and a dangerous one and this guy was just fractious. He was fine once he realized we weren’t out to hurt him.” The dog in question was injured and abused, yet they found that he just needed a little extra TLC for safe handling.

    So sad that not everyone who interacts with animals in a professional capacity can’t be competent.

    Reply
  4. FixCharlotte

     /  November 26, 2012

    Wow, I don’t get it. There were so many options besides shooting the poor dog. I guess the biggest issue is that this all took place on PRIVATE property! They could have simply closed the garage door and called it a day. What I see are cops that REALLY want to fire their guns. And, they did it in an unsafe manner. I really hope their City learns from this (doubtful) and these cops are put on desk duty or fired. These are the clowns who would shoot a homeless person for being “fractious”. Scary!

    Reply
  5. Big brave police. They suck! They shoot innocent animals too often. They should go after the bad guys and get rid of them!

    Reply
  6. Way too easy for people to shoot animals without any consequence – except for wounded or dead animals, of course. This happens much more than it should. If I were the owner/caretaker of this dog (no, could not watch the video) I would be filing charges!
    RIP Chloe – you did not deserve to die

    Reply
  7. It was PURE luck that a stray bullet only hit the AC truck, and not a bystander. Or a neighboring house. Animal cruelty aside, this officer should be suspended and fired for irresponsibly discharging his firearm.

    Reply
  8. As a veterinary assistant of nearly 12 years I must say that I have seen many aggressive dogs. This dog does not appear to be trying to attack anyone. She was frightened…not to say that a scared dog wouldn’t attack, but come on! I have handled some really bad dogs on a catch pole. If these people had done their jobs properly, this dog would still be alive. Chloe was killed because she was a pitbull. That police officer needs to be fired!

    Reply
  9. EmilyS

     /  November 26, 2012

    Commerce City bans pit bulls and I assume kills any that have the misfortune to end up in their shelter. The police officer was just saving them the trouble of killing the dog at the shelter… (bitter snark)

    Reply
  10. Eucritta

     /  November 26, 2012

    Last November, Norm Stamper – former police chief – wrote an article for The Nation on the police response to Occupy, that I’ve often thought about since in connection with the use of overwhelming and lethal force against dogs:

    http://www.thenation.com/article/164501/paramilitary-policing-seattle-occupy-wall-street#

    Especially this paragraph:

    Much of the problem is rooted in a rigid command-and-control hierarchy based on the military model. American police forces are beholden to archaic internal systems of authority whose rules emphasize bureaucratic regulations over conduct on the streets. An officer’s hair length, the shine on his shoes and the condition of his car are more important than whether he treats a burglary victim or a sex worker with dignity and respect. In the interest of “discipline,” too many police bosses treat their frontline officers as dependent children, which helps explain why many of them behave more like juvenile delinquents than mature, competent professionals. It also helps to explain why persistent, patterned misconduct, including racism, sexism, homophobia, brutality, perjury and corruption, do not go away, no matter how many blue-ribbon panels are commissioned or how much training is provided.

    Reply
  11. Arlene

     /  November 26, 2012

    I have just finished watching the video and I feel like vomiting! That poor dog was tazed and dropped down twice and then caught on a catch pole. While on the end of that catch pole the dog was shot five times. FIVE TIMES. One shot hit the patrol car. The other four killed the dog. As if all this wasn’t bad enough the officers then lie about “a charging dog”?? On the video you clearly see the animal control officer put her hands to her head in shock at what just transpired.

    Reading the Huffington Post on the incident with Lily who was also killed by a cop the reporter talked to retired police officers. They do not remember any killing of dogs happening like they are today. Almost daily we hear of dogs being shot. What the heck?

    It is clear to me that there needs to be MANDATORY TRAINING NATION WIDE for ALL police officers to learn how to read “dogs language”. There also needs to be investigation done that is NOT internally done. An outside agency should investigate any killing of dogs by cops.

    I hope that the officers involved in this dog’s death are sued along with the police department and the city. They need to be held accountable for a death that was totally uncalled for.

    Reply
  12. Joel

     /  November 26, 2012

    There needs to be a good reason for any police officer to be discharging a firearm. This doesn’t come close to qualifying. How can anyone who lives in that jurisdiction feel safe with cowboys like that running around?

    Reply
  13. Rita Grijalva

     /  November 27, 2012

    The video makes me ill. That poor, frightened dog was not aggressive and was under control. She did not deserve to die. Somebody needs to do something to stop the police from killing peoples pets. It seems like this happens weekly.

    Reply
  14. That dog’s body language did not show aggression. I live a few minutes away from where this happened. This is shameful. And I am sure ‘pit bull’s mix will be used to justify the officers action.

    Reply
  15. mary francis

     /  November 27, 2012

    This was on our local morning news – the reporters at our local TV station were in my estimation visibly shaken when reporting this. I think we are living in a police state mentality nationwide with regard to animals….and often times with people too.

    Reply
  16. Clarice

     /  November 27, 2012

    As a result of the puplic uproar, the DA will be conducting the investigation. There is an adorable photo of Chloe with this article.

    http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=301754

    Reply
  17. EmilyS

     /  November 29, 2012

    They posted the 911 call.. Mr Collins DID describe the dog he saw as behaving aggressively (with no further explanation.) He of course is NOT to blame for the completely wrong killing of Chloe… and without his videos, we wouldn’t know the truth of how the police behaved. But if he had called Animal Control instead of 911.. or he hadn’t used that word, the police wouldn’t have been there to kill Chloe. What her fate would have been upon being seized is another story. Evidently her owner lives in Pueblo, which does not have BSL.

    Reply
  18. Clarice

     /  December 20, 2012

    Commerce City officer charged with animal cruelty in Chloe the dog’s death.

    http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=306111

    Reply

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