WMAQ reports that a Chicago-area police officer has been fired after he shot a family dog in the head, while its 6-year-old owner watched helplessly.
The girl’s mother, Nicole Echlin, told the local NBC affiliate that their 1-year-old shepherd-mix Apollo escaped on Friday. The family was returning home just as the Hometown Police Department arrived:
Police say dispatchers received a call from the owners that Apollo, their 16-month-old German Shepherd/pit bull mix, was loose. The officer said he found the dog and followed it back to its home when it “growled and approached him in a threatening manner,” prompting him to pull out his gun and shoot the animal.
Echlin said her young daughter “started screaming” after the shooting.
Witnesses also told NBC 5 that the dog didn’t appear to be threatening the officers.
“The dog wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t see it doing anything, it wasn’t barking,” said neighbor Nicco Torres who witnessed the incident through his window. “Then I saw a cop shoot the dog, the dog fell to ground on the lawn.”
The 23-year-old co-owner of the dog and Nicole Echlin’s sister, told WMAQ that the dog wasn’t aggressive:
“I don’t know why they would pull out a gun they had so many other options,” said Echlin’s 23-year-old sister and fellow owner Kristy Scialabba, who works at an animal care center in Chicago. “And to shoot a dog in front of a child that’s going to scare her for the rest of her life.”
“We’re just completely broken and we really don’t know what to do,” she said. “That was my boy, that was my dog. This is hometown you don’t hear anything like this. Nothing ever happens here.”
Apollo died on Sunday as a result of the shooting. The family praised the department for firing the officer, although the department refused to release the officer’s name.
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