Dog shooting: Sara is second dog killed by Thornton police in a year

Categories: News

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Big photos below.
Incidents in which police officers have shot dogs while on duty have made plenty of news in these parts. Note the November killing of a pooch named Chloe, which resulted in felony charges against Commerce City Officer Robert Price -- an incident that contributed to passage of legislation mandating dog-related police training. But this new law couldn't save Sara, a dog shot by a Thornton police officer near her home earlier this month. And her owners' attorney isn't buying the rationale for the act.

"I have a hard time believing Sara did anything overly aggressive," says Jennifer Edwards of the Animal Law Center, which has represented clients in several high-profile cases of police shooting dogs. "The stories of the dog lunging and baring its teeth and attempting to bite are just a farce."

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A photo of Sara and a friend supplied by the Animal Law Center.
Here's how Edwards characterizes what happened on June 18 in a Thornton mobile-home neighborhood.

"The owners of the dog were at home and Sara, a three-year-old mixed-breed dog, got out and went across the street to a little girl who was with her dog," she recounts. "As I understand it, the little girl got frightened and went inside and told someone and police were called and responded, and they cornered Sara up against a fence. There are reports that she was cowering -- and then they shot her."

This account differs significantly from the one Thornton Police Department spokesman Officer Matt Barnes shared with 7News. According to him, the male caller who contacted police said Sara, described in the 7News piece as a seventy-pound pit bull, tried to attack the ten-year-old child mentioned by Edwards, and when he attempted to rescue her, the dog went after him, too. Responding officers were attempting to take Sara into custody using a catch pole when she charged at one of them, prompting him to fire his gun in self-defense.

This doesn't sound like the dog the owners described to Edwards. "They characterize her as very patient," she allows. "They have a nine-month-old child, and being a mother myself -- and going into my ninth month of pregnancy on my second child -- your dog needs to be pretty tolerant of eye poking and a number of things. And she hasn't shown any aggressive tendencies. She's been very, very gentle, very good. And no one's reporting a bite, a scratch or even a slobber mark from Sara on the day in question."

What happened next? "The police didn't immediately allow the owners to take Sara to a vet," Edwards maintains. "They laid her body in the back of the police cruiser, and the owners had to convince them to get her help."

Continue for more about the incident, including additional photos and a document.


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51 comments
jackmaluz
jackmaluz

COPS: is getting to the point that the only good cop is a dead cop. Come shoot my dog piggies. I believe in the 3 S's. Shoot, Shovel, Shutup. Oh wait! then the cops will bring their own canines to hunt for a possible dead body, here we go again......

tgrnhl
tgrnhl

well people will get tired of it.. and start shooting back.. cop better get out of my fucking way if i am there and let me deal with the dog.. or arrest me .. Cops are out of control and liars 

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Kill my Clyde ???

That cop better have saved a bullet !!!...

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Police in Colorado know they face no consequences for shooting pets, and they apparently enjoy it.  Automatic termination and mandatory jail time for the unwarranted shooting of people needs to be implemented first, then extended to cover their pets too.  We have a long way to go -- though it is often said that the world is shrinking, civilization just seems to be getting further and further away from Colorado.

CloudGang
CloudGang

"Incidents in which police officers have shot dogs while on duty have made plenty of news in these parts."

Not to mention the moose on the loose.

disco-nap-pete
disco-nap-pete

part of the problem is is the people calling these in, it seems that often times these scared ignorant family's call 911 saying that they are scared and their family is in danger and identify the dog as a trained killer pit bull or something along those lines, the cops show up like its an emergency and shoot the dog on sight because they can. everyone is fucking up not just the cops. unfortunately denver is developing a local as well as national reputation for its awful police work. for all the good reasons to live in denver, they have become a serious deterrent for many.

kadargo
kadargo

Needlessly killing someone's pet here in Colorado is considered Aggravated Cruelty to Animals which is a class 5 felony which is publishable by 18 months to 3 years in prison.  Yet cops are still allowed to do it.  Why don't they contact the DOW who are trained at sedating wildlife in order to relocate them?  Why the killing?  Lazy pussies, would be my guess.

Courtney Donaldson
Courtney Donaldson

HELL NO!!!! They wouldn't do it for a human and dogs are part of the family so, ultimately, they are killing a family member...

Matt Baca
Matt Baca

he police deal with minorities by shooting first and asking questions later. There are bigger issues to deal with as it pertains to the police. THEY'RE DOGS...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Trigger-happy cowardly cop scum!

Heather McCubbin Johnson
Heather McCubbin Johnson

Maybe all the couch quarterbacks should strap on some Kevlar and a badge and try being a cop for a day. Yes there are some bad apples, there are in EVERY profession, unfortunately that is all the media covers. Hey Westword, why don't you cover the great things these heros do! You won't even have to work hard to find a million examples. Most cops dread pulling their gun for any reason. I thank God they are willing to do the job that they do. I know I sleep better. I am thankful for our police, military, firemen and EMT's.

Mike Milos
Mike Milos

Very Typical of the Paramilitary Police force we are building! Remember when you could look up to most of the police? Times have changed for the worse!

Phil Knight
Phil Knight

Yes. Maybe these idiots forget they also carry pepper spray & tazers, which both could be effective in dealing with animals! Must make them feel tough to kill a defensless family pet!

Kalei N Rick Troch
Kalei N Rick Troch

Just know if I had a dog and a squad car came to my house, shot my dog, that squad car would be following a hearse on the way out with smoked pig in the back, guarantee that.

Eric Smiles
Eric Smiles

They will shoot anything that they can get away with shooting. Tough guys. And funerals for their dogs that they order to attack people. Classy. A poor practice.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

The next time a cop is killed, I would be HONORED to Grand Marshall a parade procession !!!

leannwalters
leannwalters

@disco-nap-pete I couldn't agree with you more, finally somebody said what I[ve thought all along. Why the hell do people, NEIGHBORS, call the cops instead of walking over to their NEIGHBOR and saying hey I think your dog is out. Sara was a sweet dog, there was no need to kill her. NONE, and there was probably even less reason for a NEIGHBOR to call. I blame this on a lot of things that went wrong, but I don't think Sara did one thing to deserve being shot. 

sampler1136
sampler1136

@kadargo 

Because cops can beat you senseless, speed and break virtually all traffic laws, lie on their reports, and yet virtually never get punished.  Heck, they don't get punished when they shoot unarmed person holding a coke can in the home owners own home.  Do you REALLY think they care about your dog?  


Police are a necessary evil in all societies but for some strange reason we are virtually the ONLY ones that elevate them to hero status even as they transformed to paramilitary organization with a "us vs. them" mentality.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kadargo ... because Cops are COWARDS ... gutless shitsucking cowards.


sampler1136
sampler1136

@Matt Baca 

They asked questions?  That's an improvement...

jackmaluz
jackmaluz

@Heather McCubbin Johnson Spoken like a true dependent!

lancescott70
lancescott70

@Heather McCubbin Johnson Funny the local cops where I live are known for pulling their guns on people and threatening them during traffic stops. I live in a small city with a relatively low amount of crime, yet the police act like they are patrolling Bagdad and everyone not from a prominent family or on the city council is a terroist. If you need them and call for help good luck. Asking a police officer here to do their job is like asking them to make water into wine. Much easier and better to bully people that you pull over or see walking down the street.

tgrnhl
tgrnhl

@Heather McCubbin Johnson You know why? because all those so called good cops cover the asses of the bad ones instead of standing up and being good cops..  THEY allow this shit to happen which is just as bad as doing it themselves..  Have yet to see one cop tell another NO and pull his gun on his partner to prevent the action.. or arrest fellow officer the second he is out of line... SO don't tell me they are good when they sit back and keep their mouth shut... use to be I trusted them, now not one bit

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Heather McCubbin Johnson Thought-provoking post, Heather. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

sampler1136
sampler1136

@Heather McCubbin Johnson 

True, cops dread pulling their guns out -- they like their TAZERS much better than guns because TAZERS don't leave a mark.  Watch the perp twitch and then laugh about it in the station...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Heather McCubbin Johnson <== spineless Government sycophant 

sampler1136
sampler1136

@Mike Milos 

Fargo, North Dakota police just got a $250K armored vehicle with rotating turret from the military -- in a juristidiction that has maybe one homicide a year.  You KNOW that it is human tendency to use the new toys regardless of how over the top it gets.  Why would you TRY to deescalate a situation when you have an ARMORED TANK to take out the citizen and KNOW that nothing will happen to you if kill mr. citizen...  

tgrnhl
tgrnhl

@sampler1136 @kadargo  no they are not a necessary evil not needed at all... they are a recent thing in american history... people use to take care of their own problems .. it has just been since sheeple have bred that they came into power


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@sampler1136 @kadargo 

U$A = a Nation of Sycophantic Cowards afraid of their own shadow

sampler1136
sampler1136

@DonkeyHotay @kadargo 

It is partially our society fault as well for calling cops for EVERYTHING.

  When you call police, all chances of deescalation the situation go out the window since their attitude is my way or well, my way -- even when dealing with mentally ill person who the family is worried about.  Yeah, mr. officer fruitcake talking to an actual fruitcake and expect everything to end well.


Repeat after me -- POLICE ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND and the favorite, EVERYTHING YOU SAY WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU and NEVER for you since anything that can clear your name is called hearsay.  

lancescott70
lancescott70

@sampler1136 Now thats not true, they will get a short paid vacation while the incident (not crime) is investigated. Then after a slap on the wrist given back the keys to the armored car and told to be more careful next time (Ie. make usre there are no wirnesses).

kadargo
kadargo

@DonkeyHotay Which is why our only responses to law enforcement should be either "I'd like to talk with my attorney before answering any questions." or "Am I under arrest or am I free to go?" and nothing more.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kadargo "It is illegal to lie to the police, but legal for them to lie to you."

Bingo! ... and under the NEW Colorado catch-all law "Attempting to Influence a Public Servant" it has been made a FELONY!


kadargo
kadargo

@sampler1136  Further....

Ignorance to the law is NO excuse.

Anything you say can and WILL be used against you.

It is illegal to lie to the police, but legal for them to lie to you.

They will be called to testify against you in court by the prosecutor, but will not be allowed to testify on your behalf via your attorney because of the hearsay rule.

Seems a bit unfair to me....

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