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Minneapolis police kill family dog during foot chase

Tito, killed by Minneapolis police
Star Tribune/Josh

A Minneapolis dog is dead, shot by Minneapolis police during a foot chase July 18. CBS Local Minnesota reported the story July 21.

The incident began when police were chasing a teen suspect after a car crash Friday evening near near 39th Avenue and the 3900 block Alrich Avenue North. At some point the chase ended up in the back yard of Paul Trott and Josh Lyczkowski, who were in their home at the time.

At some point the teen suspect had opened the back gate, shattering the lock, with Minneapolis police officers close behind.

Unaware of the chase, the two men allowed their dogsTito and Vita, outside. The dogs saw the broken lock and open gate, running into the alley where the chase for the suspect continued.

Paul and Josh feared the worst when a single shot rang out. Despite being close behind their dogs, they were too late to save them. An officer had shot and killed Tito, a 2-year-old Cane Corso that weighed about 120 pounds. One fatal shot to the head ended Tito's life.

Josh said his other dog, a Cane Corso named Vita, ran back into the house after Tito was shot. The scene was taped off and Tito’s body was eventually taken away by City of Minneapolis animal control officials.

Minneapolis police issued the following statement to news media

“Police officers are placed into situations where, at times, they must make immediate decisions based on only the facts that are present at that moment. The officers are mandated to make the decisions to preserve their own safety as well as the safety of others. The decision to shoot, or harm, an animal is not made lightly, but at times must be made immediately. Officers have no way of knowing the history of the animal, or what the animal may do. Every threat must be taken seriously. These are very sad and unfortunate incidents and ones that no one wants to occur.”

The Star Tribune also posted a police statement

“The decision to shoot, or harm, an animal is not made lightly, but at times must be made immediately. Officers have no way of knowing the history of the animal, or what the animal may do,” the statement read. It’s not uncommon for a police officer to shoot a dog; it’s happened most recently in Minneapolis during raids on suspected drug dealing houses, a place where a dog might be trained to attack police officers. State statute 609.066 authorizes the use of deadly force by a police officer when necessary to protect the officer from great bodily harm or death. In this case, according to a police report filed in the incident, the dogs “ran at the officer and would not stop.”

When questioned by Tito's owners, police told the men they'd have done the same if faced with the situation again.

Although Tito was a large dog, he wasn't known to be aggressive or vicious.

Paul stated

“It’s a ‘shoot first, think later’ when it comes to domestic animals."

Police brought the suspect around to apologize to Paul and Josh for his actions.

Josh told CBS Local

“I also wanted to say something to him. And that was, that you know, the choices you make affect those around you.”

The same advice should hold true to police as well. There's a ripple effect each time a police officer shoots a family dog. It destroys their credibility, as well as community trust. A police department's good name may be tarnished for years, due to the action taken by one trigger-happy cop .

For more of Elisa's articles on dogs shot by police, click here.