Officer Robert Price breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday afternoon as an Adams County jury decided he was not guilty of animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty in a report by Colorado's ABC7News.com.
Officer Price had been on administrative leave since December, shortly after Chloe, a chocolate Labrador retriever mix was shot multiple times by the officer on Nov. 24, 2012, after a neighbor called 9-1-1 and reported an aggressive "pit bull" loose in the neighborhood.
During the trial, Adams County prosecutor Ed Bull pointed out to the jury that a cell phone video recorded of the event contradicted the officer's report about the dog being aggressive and the need to shoot the dog multiple times.
The defense attorney however, Don Sisson, told the jury that Officer Price spent 20 minutes looking for the dog's owner, and the dog had become aggressive. Sadly, Chloe was in panic mode after another officer shot her twice with a taser. Officer Price then shot the dog five times - killing her and stating he killed the dog in self-defense.
Sisson told the jury,"Robert Price is not a guy who consciously kills dogs for no reason,"
On Wednesday, the Facebook page Justice for Chloe posted a heartbreaking message to more than 4,700 "likes" reading about the ooutcome of the case:
"There are times when I am embarrassed to be part of the human race. This is one of those times. Humans fail animals every single day and here again humans have failed Chloe. Here was the opportunity to hold an officer accountable for his out of control actions. Videos do NOT lie and the video clearly shows he was WRONG in his actions. It is because of the actions of some that the police as a whole are not respected, that they are feared and hated, and why the majority do not believe in justice. It has NEVER been about revenge but about holding Price and others like him accountable for their actions. For those that have criticized the motives of this page, the admins, and others like it let's see how you feel when it is YOUR pet that is murdered. Let's see if you will be so forgiving and critical then. Although I am deeply disappointed in the jury and our legal system this will only serve to strengthen my resolve and make me work all the harder for change. It WILL happen because we will NOT give up or give in. That I promise."
Chloe's owner, Gary Branson, used Chloe as a therapy dog to help him get active again after bypass surgery. He contended his dog had never been aggressive, and that Chloe would have been alive today if Animal Control had just kept the dog restrained.
Branson plans to file a civil suit.
Rest in peace Chloe.
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