The recent fatal shooting of a black lab mistaken by police as a pit bull has now gone viral. KREM updated the story July 10.
To catch up on more of the story, see Examiner Penny Eims report here.
An officer of the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Police Department was answering a call about a suspicious van when he came across a "viscous pit bull," who turned out to be a 2-year-old lab mix named Arfie.
Craig Jones, Arfie's owner, had parked his van in the shade while he had breakfast at Java on Sherman nearby. He rolled his window halfway down so Arfie would remain cool and get some air.
Then the unthinkable happened. An unidentified police officer heard Arfie bark. For barking, Arfie was shot through the window, and later died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Chief of Police Ron Clark stated
"The Coeur d'Alene Police Department is currently reviewing the officer involved shooting of a dog that occurred yesterday (July 9th) at 821 Sherman Ave. Animal Control officers originally identified the dog as a pit bull. The Police Department had a veterinarian examine the dog and it has been identified as a lab mix."
The Coeur d'Alene Police Department has received death threats in the form of emails and phone calls since the tragedy occurred. For that reason, the officer responsible hasn't been named. Neither has he been put on any kind of administrative leave.
Clint Lenard's comment on the Coeur d'Alene Police Department Facebook page summed it up best saying
"WE'VE SEEN IT BEFORE, GUYS. HUNDREDS of times per year. You won't get away with exonerating this guy, you will be contacted by plenty of people, the media and protests. Do the right thing and FIRE this cop, charge him with the correct charges and then install REAL TRAINING for dealing with dogs so that the next psychopath can't be given the same 'the officer felt threatened' excuse. We aren't having it..".
An account given by a witness who lives across the street from Java on Sherman hints of a cover up. Not only did the officer shoot Arfie through the window, police also removed his body.
Craig had no idea Arfie had been shot until he later emerged from the coffee establishment and a witness explained what happened. Police didn't even have the decency to go inside and inform Craig they'd killed his dog.
Now the police department is fearing retaliation by those upset about the death of a family dog. My question to this is why does it come as such a shock to this department?
Do these officer's not follow news media regarding dogs shot by police? Do officer's not read about the lawsuits being filed by the owner whenever that owner feels his dog was unfairly murdered?
Get real, and accept some responsibility. If a department refuses to train officer's in proper ways to recognize dog behavior, then that department should be prepared to face public retaliation when a dog is killed. This poor dog lost his life for barking. Really, officers?
By the way, Coeur d'Alene, this will tarnish the image the public has of your department for years. So get used to having residents think poorly of your department.
The best move you could make at this time would be to terminate the officer responsible. If for no other reason than he must have poor eyesight to mistake a black lab for a pit bull.
Craig has secured a lawyer, and will prosecute the officer, the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, and the city to the fullest extent of the law. For a dog to have been shot inside a van, he'll likely win his case.
This won't bring Arfie back, but it will hopefully teach your police department, and others out there who tend to shoot first and ask questions later, that payback is coming.
It's coming in the form of huge lawsuits won by the family of the victim. Hopefully losing $100,000 or more will encourage your officers to think before you shoot the next black lab who scares one of your officers.
Congratulations for making global headlines. This is only the beginning of what your department will go through, thanks to improper training and a trigger-happy officer.
Steve Widmyer, Mayor
(208) 666-5754 or (208) 769-2220 x503
Phone: (208) 769-2320
Fax: (208) 769-2307
3818 Schreiber Way
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815
Thank you for the comment, Clint. It's how the majority of us who follow these dogs shot by police cases feel. We're fed up, and will use the law to our advantage to end these senseless killings.
For more of Elisa's articles on dogs shot by police, click here.