NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - An NOPD officer has been reassigned after shooting and killing a four and a half month old puppy in the Lower Garden District.
The Department’s Public Integrity Bureau has opened an investigation into the shooting which happened around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.
“Any way I look at this, I just can’t see a justification of it,” Holly Williams with Trampled Rose Rescue and Rehab said.
Two officers responding to a disturbance call, opened the gate of the home on Felicity Street. That’s when NOPD says a dog began to charge at the officers and one officer fired, killing four and a half month old Apollo.
“18-weeks-old, he was an unmistakable puppy, rubbery, bouncy, lanky,” Williams said.
Apollo was brought to Williams and Trampled Rose Rescue and Rehab along with his mama and eight siblings, rescued from a backyard breeder.
“They were born so tiny because the mama was so emaciated that their odds from the get go weren’t good,” Williams said.
However, the pups thrived and were soon ready for adoption around Mardi Gras.
“They were the kind of family that we hope to find each time for for rescues,” Williams said about his adoptive family.
Two months after finding him his loving home, Williams had just given the sweet little Catahoula his third round of puppy shots.
“When I learned that he was shot in his own yard, securely fenced yard, I was horrified,” Williams said. “I was speechless because I mean, if your pets aren’t safe within their own yard, where are they safe?”
Apollo’s owners were having a verbal argument Saturday night at the time of the complaint according to Williams, so they let their two dogs outside in the yard.
“They did everything right and still this is the outcome,” Williams said.
NOPD’s policy says officers are authorized to shoot an animal in circumstances where the animal reasonably appears to pose an imminent threat to human safety and alternative methods are not reasonably available or would likely be ineffective.
“There’s this whole distinction between perceived and actual threat,” Jeff Dorson with the Humane Society of Louisiana said. “A little puppy is not an actual threat to anybody on the whole planet, so they can’t use this. They can’t use their policy to shield them from public outcry, from public input, or even possible litigation.”
Dorson says there needs to be some level of basic training when 50 percent of all households have a dog.
“How about a strong voice command? How about making friends with the dog? How about using your baton? How about using your pepper spray, if you’re really that concerned,” Dorson asked. “It’s common sense, 90-percent of this, plus a few little good techniques, and you’re on your way, with no shooting, no discharge of a firearm and no dead puppy.”
NOPD did not respond to FOX 8 on what kind of training their officers receive when it comes to encountering animals
NOPD is investigating the shooting and asks anyone with relevant information to call.
Apollo’s owners could not be reached for comment.
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