Caution: The above video contains graphic footage.
A video of a Minneapolis police officer shooting two dogs has gone viral today. According to the Star Tribune, the officer was responding to a burglary call when he came into contact with the two dogs.
The woman who owns the dogs, Jennifer LeMay, was understandably upset. She has owned the dogs since they were puppies. Both dogs are “physician-prescribed emotional support animals for LeMay’s two sons, who suffer from severe anxiety.”
The two Staffordshire terriers are alive, but LeMay is facing steep medical bills for vet care and surgeries for both of her beloved pets.
The incident occurred around 9:15 p.m. on Saturday night. The officer arrived at the home after one of LeMay’s daughter’s accidentally triggered the house alarm. The officer, whose name has not been released, was caught on video by a camera set up in the family’s backyard.
As you can see in the video above, the police officer is checking things out in the backyard of a home. He has his gun drawn as he is backing out of the property, being followed by the family’s dogs. The dogs do not appear aggressive and are seen wagging their tails. Neither dog gets very close to the officer, but both were shot.
“Ciroc, a white and brown dog, trots toward the officer and stops about 10 feet away. The dog looks distracted but does not appear to be charging the officer. The officer fires, the dog falls and then scrambles to his feet and runs away. At the same time, a black dog runs into camera range. The officer shoots several times and the dog flees.”
Ciroc was shot in the jaw while the other dog, Rocko, suffered wounds on his side, face, and shoulder. Ciroc needs surgery that could cost well over $5,000. Both dogs are said to be resting at home.
Minneapolis police are currently investigating the case.
“We are aware of the recent incident involving MPD officers responding to an audible residential burglary alarm and while at this call an MPD officer discharged their firearm, striking two dogs belonging to the homeowner. Anytime an officer discharges their firearm in the line of duty there is an investigation. We are in the process of reviewing the video posted online, as well as the officer’s body camera video,” police spokesman Corey Schmidt said in a statement.
“[My dog] wasn’t even moving, lunging toward him or anything. … My dogs were doing their job on my property,” LeMay said.
On Monday afternoon, Minneapolis police chief Janeé Harteau released the following statement:
“I’ve watched the video, and as someone whose family has included dogs most of my life, I can say that it was difficult to watch. This was an outcome that no one wanted. I’ve asked for an Internal Affairs use of force review. We are reaching out to the family to help them with the veterinary care bills to ensure that both dogs are adequately taken care of. To help us prevent similar outcomes in the future, we will be implementing updated mandatory training specifically for officers identifying effective tools and tactical strategies with police and dog encounters. We want both our officers and all our community members to be safe.”