Here’s a story that will ruin your day.
A family in Minneapolis, Minnesota, went camping this past weekend. Two of the four kids, girls ages 18 and 13, came home early by themselves because the older one needed to work at her summer job Sunday morning.
As the girls were entering their home, they accidentally triggered the burglar alarm. Within four minutes they’d called their mom, Jennifer LeMay, who called the security company, which turned off the alarm. All good, right?
Not right. The alarm alerted local police, and about 20 minutes later two Minneapolis cops showed up on the scene to check things out. One officer very reasonably knocked on the front door.
The other officer decided to climb the family’s seven-foot privacy fence and shoot their two dogs — wait, make that their friendly, not violent, physician-prescribed emotional support dogs who were hanging out in their own backyard.
We know the dogs weren’t threatening the trigger-happy cop’s safety because LeMay also has a security camera, and it caught the whole incident on tape. She shared the disturbing footage on Facebook:
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As you’ll see if you watch the video, which doesn’t have any audio, neither dog is attacking the officer when he shoots them. The first dog, Ciroc, approaches slowly, tail wagging, and is a good 10 feet from the cop when he is shot. The second dog, Rocko, trots over and also doesn’t get anywhere near the officer before he fires the gun repeatedly.
Ciroc was shot in his jaw, and Rocko was hit in his face, shoulder, and side. The 13-year-old girl had to witness her dogs getting shot from her bedroom window, and then both girls watched their dogs suffer as the officers promised veterinary help would arrive from “animal control” only to have no one show up. Now, the family faces thousands in vet bills if they want their pets to get better.
The Minneapolis Police Department is investigating this whole mess and has yet to issue any definitive assessment. It really shouldn’t be that complicated.
Police should not be able to shoot your dog for peacefully existing on your land. Even if a burglary had been in progress, the dogs were obviously not the culprits. There is no way to watch that clip and conclude the cop’s behavior was reasonable.
The troubling thing is there’s legal precedent for letting this officer off scot-free. On top of the too-low legal bar for police use of force, a Michigan court ruled last year police can justifiably execute a dog for moving or barking. Seriously.
Minneapolis needs to do better. As LeMay said, “My dogs were doing their job on my property. We have a right to be safe in our yard.”