Police shot a pit bull in Springfield, Oregon yesterday – and the injured dog still needs surgery to remove a bullet lodged in her shoulder. While some reports state that the dog, named Kiki, is "fine" and does not need surgery, Kiki's family - and those who are close to this case - assert that this is untrue.
According to yesterday's KEZI News, the dog, named Kiki, was shot on Tuesday evening near the intersection of S. 41st and Camellia St. According to the Springfield police, an officer was responding to calls of an “aggressive” dog and attempted to get the dog to come to him. The officer alleges that the dog made an “aggressive” move towards him in the middle of the street. The officer pulled his gun and discharged the weapon, shooting Kiki from a distance of only a few feet.
KEZI News stated that according to witnesses who did not want to be named, the officer’s rendition of events is inaccurate - but now, witnesses are beginning to come forward and talk on the record. According to Sandi Sue Sexton, the police account of the incident is inaccurate. Sexton stated: "My son was there. This dog never made a threatening move toward the officer. The neighbors who witnessed the whole incident were screaming at the officer not to shoot the dog because she was not doing anything at all. But he shot her anyways, then proceeded to chase her over into my driveway with his gun out. She ran to my son and roommate for help. They were not scared of the wounded dog!"
According to No Kill Lane County, Kiki was seen this morning by the Cascade Animal Hospital, where staff took X-rays of the injured dog. A bullet is lodged in Kiki's shoulder and she still has a head wound, as well. Kiki will need ongoing emergency care for the bullet wound. She may need surgery to remove the bullet in her shoulder, because it may migrate later.
Residents have expressed outrage over the incident, stating that they were upset with the choice of weapon and that force was used. “That was definitely overkill in this situation,” stated neighbor Brenda Brick.
She added: “I don’t feel like that dog was that big of a threat at all. I live right across the street and I’ve only had positive interactions with that dog.”
According to Sergeant Richard Lewis, the officer had no other options. Sgt. Lewis asserted that there were reports that a driver used his car to block the dog from someone on the street and told the person to get in.
Sgt. Lewis stated: “The officer wishes he wasn’t put in that position, but he was. That’s unfortunate for the dog.”
Sgt. Russ Boring concurred: “It was chasing people down the street. We had one phone call from a neighbor saying that there was a younger type teen male that had been chased by the dog and had been cornered.”
“They said they were scared of the officer running around with his gun out," Sexton countered. "[The officer] was still chasing her around while she was bleeding all over the place with his gun out, not saying anything to anyone. The blood is still in our driveway and the dog's driveway. She was chased to and retreated, when she started out in her own yard. The people who witnessed it and were screaming at the officer not to shoot her say they are filing a complaint against the officer."
According to Sgt. Lewis, his evaluation of Tuesday’s incident was “justified” and no disciplinary action will be taken against the officer. Animal advocates, however, disagree – and they’re planning a protest today.
Kiki’s owner, Breonna Kerr, stated that her dog was a rescue pit bull. Kiki is still suffering from the injuries incurred from the police shooting and her family still needs help to pay for surgery. Save the Pets, a 501(c)(3) rescue organization, has agreed to collect funds for Kiki through their PayPal account. Donations need to be marked "Kiki Medical Fund."
Breonna Kerr comforted her dog yesterday as she tried to arrange her dog's surgery. The Kerr family continues to try to raise funds for their dog’s life-saving surgery. To add insult to injury, the police stated that they will eventually provide the investigation information to animal control to see if any citations will be issued to the owner.
“It’s not fair to her,” Kerr stated. “The people say she was trying to get inside because the officer was chasing her and gunned her down, and I feel like it wasn’t handled the correct way and it should’ve been done and dealt with differently than it had.”
The police report that they're happy with how the incident unfolded. Sgt. Boring stated: “In fact, the officer did a very good job and several of the citizens commented that the officer did a great job out there and we’re very happy with what happened.”
While Kerr states that Kiki did escape from her yard, she wants justice for her dog due to the excessive use of force. Kerr stated: “That’s a life, no matter if it’s a human being or an animal. That’s a life, and you know it’s not fair for her to sit there and be like that in pain and agony.”
A protest is planned today at the Springfield Police Department, located at 230 4th St., Springfield, on from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A Facebook page has been created for the event.
No Kill Lane County spokesperson Debi McNamara told Seattle Pets Examiner yesterday: "No Kill Lane County encourages all animal lovers to join the protest and make your voices heard. We also want to thank the veterinarians in our community who do step up in these situations and offer low-cost, life-saving care for the animals."
According to the Facebook event page, police officers have minimal training for dealing with canine calls, “resulting all too often in excessive force being used. This is made obvious with the most recent case of a pet dog being shot in the skull by the Springfield PD yesterday. Animal rights activists and pet owners are more than concerned over the recent rash of unjustifiable slayings of dogs and hitting so close to home here in Lane County we need to send a clear message, NOT IN OUR TOWN."
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