Skip to comments.St. Pete Police Fatally Shoot Dog
Posted on 03/07/2012 10:51:42 AM PST by nickcarraway
Despite improved training and new set of policies when it comes to confronting animals, St. Petersburg Police say they had no choice but to shoot and kill another dog Thursday.
It happened when a couple's loud fighting prompted several calls to 911.
"He was dead before he even hit the ground," said a sobbing Keilli Applegate.
Applegate, the dog's caretaker, was upset, but neighbors say it was an argument between Applegate and her husband that brought officers to the address on 10th Avenue North near 4th street.
And ultimately it was Phero, a pit bull that was well-known and well-liked in the neighborhood, that got the worst of it.
"The cop went - boom boom. Just like that, quick fast and in a hurry," said Applegate, "And I told the cop, 'You didn't have to do that. You didn't have to shoot him like that!'"
Phero was killed. He becomes the latest in a long list of dogs shot dead by St. Pete police officers over the past year.
There were seven of them in 2011.
The public outcry even prompted Chief Chuck Harmon to put new policies in place this past November. But in this case, police say the improved animal behavior training and new equipment, including noose-like catch poles, would not have made a difference.
The officers were responding to a domestic call with reports of a possible stabbing, and had no idea they would be facing Phero.
"Things happened so fast, the officer only had a chance to shoot," said department spokesman Bill Proffitt. "The officers heard a growling, snarling, charging dog and they had just a second or two to respond to that."
"Actually he's a sweet dog. I feel really bad," said neighbor Paulette Benson.
But Benson also said Phero was often off a leash, running up to people. That, she said, could be intimidating at first, but ultimately Phero was very gentle. It's a quality she admits the responding officers had no way of knowing.
"The St. Petersburg police did the right thing, I'm sorry," said Benson. "I mean, what if that dog attacked them?"
Still, in a city with a seemingly disproportionate number of canine killings, Phero's death is hard for Applegate to accept.
"I have never seen anything like that," she said. "I have never seen a life taken just like that."
St. Petersburg police are conducting an internal affairs investigation, which is considered standard anytime an officer's weapon is fired.
Investigators say the officer who shot Phero will remain on active duty.
LEO’s want to be the only ones to have guns.
Does not make me feel all fuzzy and safe.
Now this officer gets to go to those special meetings and learn the secret handshake.
The part where I completely lost sympathy for Applegate and her dog was when the neighbor said that the dog was often off leash running up to people. Sweet once he got there, but scared the HELL out of people.
Domestic disturbance and the report that someone was stabbed - go into the yard and be approached by a growling pit bull? Sounds like any reasonable person would shoot.
That or pull a “Columbine” (where a small explosion made the LEO’s cower in apathetic and pathetic inaction for hours) and let a potential stabbing victim bleed out while they fetched a dog restrainer or waited for animal control.
I'd shoot too. Owners fault for not keeping dog on leash -sadly, too often experienced from too many irresponsible owners.
Not your typical “cop shoots dog” story.
I blame the idiot owners for ALL of this.
They can’t use those tazer things or pepper spray on dogs?
Next time my wife starts yelling at me I can tell her to keep it down or the cops will show up and murder our dog.
I agree with you. A dog can easily run the distance of two houses in a couple of seconds. You don’t have the time to decide if he’s a nice pitbull or not a nice pitbull.
I don’t have a problem in this situation. If the dog was in the backyard and tied up or if the dog was of a breed that isn’t known for attacking and biting people, then I would have a problem.
“caretaker”? How ‘bout “owner”? Oh, that’s right - dogs aren’t slaves.../s
This is unfair to the cops at Columbine. They did not go into the building because they were following doctrine, which assumed the situation would turn into a hostage negotiation, and a gunfight would increase casualties.
As it turned out, the doctrine was totally wrong for a situation where the attackers were just killing people, not taking them hostage. But saying the cops were cowardly is condemning them with the benefit of hindsight.
They were fortunate they had a dog for the police to shoot. The officer did not have to shoot the owners.
That would deprive the officer of live action practice.
Only a douche bag or a dog fighter would tie up a dog confined in their own yard.
I’m not shocked any longer. I’ll start paying attention to these stories again when the LEO’s are blasting family pets with their new drones.
Apparently rigging a cherrybomb to a door is sufficient to cut the legs out from under a “hot entry” by the Police - as they patiently wait for a bomb squad - while people were being killed.
That is not so much hindsight criticism of the Police as it is ridiculing them being outsmarted emasculated and rendered powerless by two psycho High Schoolers and a small pipe bomb.
Then let us not forget the brave brave officers at Virginia Tech - cowering behind trees as students stood out in the open recording with cell phones. The students with cell phones were displaying more bravery ‘under fire’ than the LEO’s hired to defend them.
One of my favorite lines in Battlestar Galactica is when Apollo advises the President that they have been boarded by Cylons and to ... ‘keep moving, stay away from main corridors, and head away from gunfire.’. The President agreed and was about to turn away when she grew concerned “What about you?” she asked. With a grin he replied “We are headed TOWARDS the gunfire.”.
That is what those charged with protecting the citizenry should do - head towards the gunfire.
My point being that if there was a report of a stabbing - the officers were obliged to go through a bit of danger (a yard with a pit bull) to see if there was in fact a citizen bleeding to death; rather than retreating to wait for animal control - much as the Police at Columbine thought they should wait for the bomb squad.
I think you understand what I’m saying here, without having to spell it out.
I was differentiating between a dog that is obviously no danger to the officers and a dog that was.
And no, with doggy doors, some dogs would be free to come and go from house to backyard, so it really wasn’t that silly of a point, despite your efforts to try and make it so.
Many backyards aren’t fenced: mine for instance.
I do agree that anyone who both fences in AND ties their dog up either doesn’t know how to train a dog, or has serious control issues. Either one or both of these scenarios lead to a poorly socialized and potentially dangerous creature.
Stupid owners are the ultimate reason for this dog’s death. Pity the poor pitty.
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