The Commerce City, Colorado police officer who killed Chloe last month has been charged with animal cruelty. Officer Robert Price was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a class six felony.
The incident occurred on November 24, when owner Gary Branson dropped Chloe off at a relative’s house while he went out of town for Thanksgiving. She left Chloe in her garage when she went out shopping, but the dog tripped the sensor and opened the door.
Police received a call from neighbour Kenny Collins, who said there was a large, aggressive pit bull-mix (chocolate Lab mix, according to Branson) wandering around, barking at his windows. Police arrived with animal control, and Collins’ son began filming the event on his cell phone.
“He’s basically back in the garage or whatever, staying away from the police,” Collins said. Collins said that Chloe just sat in the garage near her bed for about half an hour while the officers scratched their heads, thinking what to do.
Chloe must have attempted to get back out, because one of the officers used his Taser on her twice, forcing her back inside. Scared, Chloe tried to escape again, but was shot by Price. The animal control officer finally got the wounded dog on the catch pole, but Price shot her four more times, finally ending her life.
Commerce City Police issued a statement that read: “An animal control agent was able to place a ‘catch pole’ around the dog’s neck. The pit bull remained extremely agitated and continued to attempt to attack the animal control agent. Due to the dog’s size and aggressive demeanour, it could not be controlled on the catch pole.
For the safety of the animal control agent and the community, a police officer shot and killed the dog.” Collins said that from the video, you could tell Chloe was just scared and trying to run away from danger. “I totally disagree with it, totally,” he said. “The dog was not attacking people and that’s not what I said when I called 911.”
Branson is devastated at the loss of his dog, who had been a therapy dog to him since he underwent heart surgery in 2008.
“She was my constant companion pretty much 24/7. And there’s never been any incidents where she was violent or aggressive,” Branson said. “She was as gentle as a lamb. She loved kids. She loved running around with them, playing with them. She’d let them ride on her like a horse, bounce on her, pull her ears, and she never once did anything to harm a child – or an adult.
She was just a loving, loving animal who loved attention. It didn’t matter from who.” After a thorough investigation, the Adams County District Attorney charged price with cruelty to animals. The cell phone video, which went viral, has been a key piece of evidence, along with witness accounts. A necropsy was also performed.
Branson is considering taking legal action against the Commerce City Police Department. “They had the opportunity to do the right thing – to own their mistake, to apologize for that mistake. And they didn’t,” said Branson’s attorney, Jennifer Edwards. “So now I think they need to change their ways within that police department.
Obviously, there’s something wrong in the culture there. In three months, we’ve gone to trial on one dog getting shot, and now we have another one needlessly murdered. Something has to change.”
WARNING: The link below contains Video which is very graphic and heartbreaking.
You Tube video:- Discretion is advised
Published on 27 Nov 2012
One police officer uses his Taser twice on the dog. Then the dog tries to run away and is captured by the animal control officer on the catch pole. But, after it is captured, a police officer fires five shots at Chloe, killing the dog.
At least one stray bullet hit the animal control officer’s car with neighbors and kids all around.
Commerce City Police initially lied, releasing a statement reading in part, “An animal control agent was able to place a ‘catch pole’ around the dog’s neck. The pit bull remained extremely agitated and continued to attempt to attack the animal control agent. Due to the dog’s size and aggressive demeanor, it could not be controlled on the catch pole. For the safety of the animal control agent and the community, a police officer shot and killed the dog.”
In the video, it does not appear that the dog moved aggressively toward two police officers and an animal control worker. The video seems to show a terrified dog who is determined to run away.
Alicia Hall, an animal behavior technician with the Dumb Friends League, said, “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.”
“The video, it’s pretty far away and kind of fuzzy, so it’s hard to see a lot of the dog’s body postures, but what I did see is that the dog did retreat quite a bit from the police officers and the animal control officer. It ran into the garage rather than coming out of the garage. And even when he was coming out of the garage, it didn’t look like he was coming after them, it looked like he was trying to get away from them,” Hall said.
Not surprisingly, Commerce City Police Chief Chuck Saunier defends the actions of the killers.
The dog was temporarily being housed at this location by the owner’s relative. She was charged with numerous violations.