Kenny Collins, a resident of Commerce City just north of Denver called the police to report a dog running loose near his property. He did not make the dog sound overly aggressive, but did call it “big”, a “Pit Bull” mix, and say it was barking at neighbors.
Chloe, the dog was being taken care of while her human companion was out-of-town. The caretaker left the dog in the garage while leaving the house. The dog apparently triggered the automatic garage dog opener.
Clearly, being somewhere other than home, even if Chloe had been to this house before, might be a stressful situation. Chloe was in a place where there was no person she knows in an open garage door in an unknown neighborhood. She probably started looking for something she knew and walked around to do so. Seeing strangers, she barked at them.
Two Police Officers and an Animal Control Officer (ACO) arrived to catch Chloe (to them a stray dog). That’s why Kenny called, to get the dog in the hands of Animal Control as he did not know whose it was or why it was roaming around and did not know its demeanor.
He later said “He never came at me in an aggressive manner.”
Chloe is in the garage where she should be by the time the neighbor across the street began videotaping the incident on their phone. Apparently, when the officers arrived she did what any scared dog would do with strangers approaching, she ran back to the only thing resembling home to her.
As the police officers and ACO stand in front of the open garage doors, a few feet from Chloe, she sits most of the time. It appears she barked a few times. At no time did I see her advance or even appear to consider coming at the officers.
As no one was at the house (it appears one officer went to the door while the other two stood by Chloe) and check to see if he could find someone. When he could not and returned, clearly they believed they had to catch the dog.
The officers tazed Chloe multiple times. Clearly, this would agitate anyone if it did not incapacitate them. Then the three walk in and corner her in the garage at which point it appears she tries to escape. Again, she di not appear to attack or prepare to attack anyone, she just wanted to be left alone.
That is when they got her in a catchpole. The ACO got Chloe in the pole, and whether filled with fear or anger, Chloe tried to get loose. This is fairly typical behavior of a dog in a catchpole. But unfortunately, the officers did not know Chloe, and Chloe was strong, bucking wildly and the ACO did not seem to have as much skill with the catchpole as might have been needed.
The first headline I read was “Officers shoot, kill pit bull in Commerce City”. Chloe wasn’t a regular dog, she was a PIT BULL. We will see this used over the next few days to help make this incident seem like a tragic, but understandable event.
The immediate response from a Commerce City detective (Mike Saunders) was
“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,”
One could argue firing four times standing next to a person trying to restrain a dog with a catchpole may have been more potentially dangerous than the dog, if the dog was aggressive. This dog was not.
The ACO was clearly shaken up after the shooting. But you cannot tell from what. Was it compassion for the dog, or was it because four shots were fired right next to her while she was struggling to get the dog under control.
The treatment of pits as well as homeless pets in the city of Denver and the metro area is a blurry reflection of the average citizen here. Even before becoming an animal advocate, most of my friends have pets, people on the street approach me to ask if they can pet my dogs, people fought, and won, for more dog parks. The examples go on and on.
It’s time for a change in Colorado. We can’t have this happening to other Chloes. Video is below if you can stomach it.
Please comment especially If you are Colorado citizen or a certified dog trainer and can shed some light on what you see in the video.
This video is graphic. The dog is tased, caught and shot while in the chokepole.