Police shot a pit bull in Springfield, Oregon yesterday – and the injured dog desperately needs surgery to remove the bullet that is still lodged in her head. According to today'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. Witnesses stated that the dog was barking in her own yard when the officer approached. The officer knelt down and the dog approached. According to the witnesses, the dog did not exhibit signs of aggression at any time. They state that she was merely barking when she was shot in the head at close range.
Residents 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.”
According to Sgt. Lewis, his evaluation of yesterday’s incident was “justified” and no disciplinary action will be taken against the officer. Animal advocates, however, disagree – and they’re planning a protest tomorrow.
Kiki’s owner, Breonna Kerr, stated that her dog was a rescue pit bull. As of this writing, she is in critical condition with a bullet still lodged in her head. Kiki was sent home from an emergency veterinary clinic this morning because her family did not have the money for her surgery. According to representatives from No Kill Lane County, who discussed this incident today, the estimates for her surgery range from $2000 to $3000 to remove the bullet from her head.
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 today as she tried to arrange her dog's surgery. “My dog still has a bullet in her head, and there’s a chance that she could have to be put down or die from it.”
The injured dog is crying often, but veterinarians think that it is unlikely that the bullet penetrated her brain, as the police shot her above her left temple. Only a surgery can help Kiki and determine the extent of her injuries – and the 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 at the Springfield Police Department, located at 230 4th St., Springfield, on Thursday 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 today: "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.
"[Kiki's family stated that] the Springfield Police Dept is condoning their officer's knee-jerk reaction. They are even praising and proud of how he handled this situation! We must send a clear message that as tax payers, who pay for [police] training, that policies need to be updated to include proper animal welfare training. Discharging a firearm in a residential area should be an absolute last resort - not the first! Excessive force has increased everywhere and we must make it known that we will not stand for such behavior in our community!"
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