JSO body camera records family's dog fatally shot by officer
Officer was investigating home burglary alarm, report says
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two days after a Westside family's 11-year-old pit bull was shot and killed by a police officer, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office released video of the shooting, which was recorded on body camera.
According to the original report, the officer was responding Wednesday to a home on Maple Street after its burglary alarm was accidentally triggered by children in the house.
BODY CAMERA: Family's dog fatally shot by officer
PREVIOUS STORY: Family's dog shot by JSO officer investigating alarm, report states
Video shows the officer outside the home. The dog, who was named Prophet, is seen on video running toward the officer.
Seconds later, the officer pulls out his firearm, fatally shooting the dog. News4Jax is stopping the video just before the shot is fired.
According to the report, the officer said the dog approached him in a threatening manner. Matt Long, the dog's owner, says his dog suffered mobility problems.
Retired JSO Lt. James Crosby is the director of canine encounter training with the National Law Enforcement Center of Animal Abuse. He said in his 23 years of working with the Sheriff's Office, he never opened fire on a dog.
"I’ve been charged by dogs. I’ve kicked doors in right here in Jacksonville and had dogs coming right at me," Crosby said. "I’ve been able to stop the dogs and avoid using deadly force against people’s pets.”
Based on what Crosby saw in the video, he pointed out the dog was not barking, nor was it showing teeth or signs that it was attacking.
"The dog looks up and moves towards him just like any dog would be expected to when a stranger is on property," Crosby said.
Crosby called it an unfortunate incident that both dog owners and police can learn from. He said officers across the U.S. are being taught how to prepare for encounters with family pets.
“In the time he took to pull his firearm, it’s entirely possible he could have easily deployed a less lethal form of defense," Crosby said. "Put your pepper spray in your weak or non-gun hand so that if a dog comes up, you can immediately deploy the pepper spray if you’re surprised by a dog."
Crosby said if the officer kept a further distance from the home, he would have seen then dog well in advance. He said the officer may have also seen clues that would suggest a dog was on the property.
It's a point of view the attorney representing the dog's family, Tarak Anada, agrees with. He said the officer should have considered an animal could be on the property the moment he arrived at the home.
“His plan for entering this property should have involved some kind of planning of a dog encounter, and he clearly didn't," Anada said. “I believe any reasonable judge or jury would find this police officer completely in the wrong.”
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