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Was shooting of dog justified?

A D.C. police officer shot and killed a festival-goer's dog amid hundreds of onlookers in Adams Morgan on Sunday afternoon in an incident that was either completely justified or totally unnecessary, depending on whom you ask. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  September 13, 2010; 10:56 AM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The police officer discharged his firearm in a public place. What was the potential danger to the public?

Why did the police officer physically restrain and control the dog initially, and then decide later that his safety was jeopardized.

Posted by: atkissonjim | September 13, 2010 11:23 AM

Washington Post, vital details are missing. A search for the word "leash" turned up zero hits. Please, more facts next time.

Posted by: random-adam | September 13, 2010 11:31 AM

Yes, the dog was on a leash.

Here is a photo of the dog being restrained before it was executed:

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q80/The_Moth/DSC_3074.jpg

Posted by: bosscrab | September 13, 2010 11:58 AM

The compassionate among us who love dogs know that dogs are too often killed by police who are fearful, overreact for some reason, or just don't want to be bothered. (visit justiceforbella.org)

We have had several similar high profile cases in the D.C. area recently, and there are others across the country. Parrot did not have to die. This killing was not necessary based on what I read.

Parrot had the unfortunate characteristic of looking too much like a pitbull, which I feel led to his demise. Breed profiling and a lack of compassion on the part of the officers contributed to this dog's death. The action will be tolerated, which is a sad commentary on our society in general and the D.C. area in particular.

Which mayoral candidate cares about animals is a question D.C. residents also need to ask.

My sincere condolences to Mr. Block.

Posted by: peashopping1 | September 13, 2010 12:04 PM

25-year-old Fike, with his military buzz cut, looks like the sort of redneck who would execute a dog without flinching. Sorry, just profiling him like he did to poor Parrot (whom he no doubt mistook for an aggressive pit bull). It was an act of animal cruelty, misuse of power, and an error in judgment that should not go unpunished. I noticed that in the Post's story, the eyewitness who supported the shooting is a former police officer. Duh.

Posted by: dcdenizen17 | September 13, 2010 12:20 PM

Breed-profiling? Is that really a term? Are you suggesting that the dog's civil rights infringed b/c it looks like a pit bull?

You're too much!

Posted by: Corn_Laden | September 13, 2010 12:35 PM

I think the real issue is, why bring a dog to a street event where there are thousands of people milling about? Many of those thousands of people are smaller than some of the dogs! And dogs being dogs can turn agressive at anytime regardles of it's bite history and extensive training. Also consider the dog's comfort,paw stepped on , ribcage inadvertantly bumped etc. PLEASE! Dog owners need to excercise some common sense.

Posted by: epnolin | September 13, 2010 12:38 PM

Another frustrating incident followed by the protective Blue Wall of Silence. Dog shootings are all too common in this region (MD-DC-VA). In other places, in which dogs are equally prevalent, there are fewer shootings. This MUST be related to training....AND bosses letting their subordinates GET AWAY with this kind of "target practice". One needs only take a peek to the east to see Michael Jackson, Prince George's Sheriff, who also thinks it is perfectly acceptable to shoot dogs. It will only be when dog owners step forward as a VOTING BLOC to demand an end to it that this shoot-first mentality will cease.

Pet owners: demand police departments begin implementing non-lethal and less than lethal methods of pet control.

Posted by: 4BoyzNow | September 13, 2010 12:42 PM

Didn't it say the officer was a veteran of 25 years? Not 25 years old? Either way, that full-nelson looked adequate for subduing the dog. What happened next that required the use of a firearm?

Posted by: cuebal | September 13, 2010 12:51 PM

Ridiculous, excessive abuse of power. If the police shoot a dog, nothing happens. If I shoot a police dog, I go down for attempted murder. Justice served equally I don't think so. Scenario: What happens if I or you are in a car and get pulled over with the family dog (let's say a German Shepherd) in the car. The police ask to search you refuse (protected by the Constitution of the US). They bring out a Narcotics dog and the two dogs get into it. What happens if I or you shoot their dog to protect your dog? Or you are in your own residence, the serve unlawfully enter your house or drive on your property, their dog gets loose and you shoot it out of fear of your own life or family. Reasonable self defense for ones' family and property. Think about it folks. WE HAVE TO STOP LETTING THE POLICE, GOVERNMENTS AND CORPORATIONS DO WHAT THE PLEASE.

Posted by: mrmaye | September 13, 2010 12:55 PM

The owner already had the dog subdued and the photo showing the officer with his knee in the dogs back looks like he has him subdued. I want to know the reasoning behind why he felt he needed to throw the dog over the banister. There was no need for him to do that. I am completely horrified at the way this poor dog was treated.

Posted by: unicornmoon113 | September 13, 2010 1:01 PM

God I hate cops.

Posted by: steve_k2 | September 13, 2010 1:06 PM

That cop is lucky a ricochet or fragment didn't hit a kid or someone else.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | September 13, 2010 1:12 PM

Too many neurotic people in DC who flip out every time a dog barks. Get a grip!

Posted by: wahoo3 | September 13, 2010 1:13 PM

More details are needed to make the call, but I presume the officer did not need to be involved if the owner had possession of the dog right?
Unless the dog was running around charging at everyone in sight.
And chances are, if I was a dog (of any breed) and was put down on the ground with a knee on my neck, I'd be upset at everyone around me too!

Posted by: bkmy1 | September 13, 2010 1:13 PM

It is obvious from one of the photos that the dog was completely subdued. At that point, the owner should have been called in. I agree with other commenters that to fire a weapon in that crowd of people with the possibility of a ricochet was very risky.

Posted by: firefoxgs | September 13, 2010 1:26 PM

I am a dog lover and own bully-breeds. Several things concern me about this issue:

First and foremost, what was Aaron Block thinking when he brought a foster dog to Adams Morgan Day? Adams Morgan Day is way too crowded for a dog. The crush of people and the stimuli can set any dog on edge. This obviously happened to Parrot, who reacted by attacking another dog.

Also, Parrot was a foster dog. Fostering is just not about giving an animal a home outside of the pound while the he or she waits for his or her forever-home, but also getting used to the dog, its temperament, what it reacts to, etc. It’s a training and get-to-know you opportunity for the dog and the foster-owner. I cannot imagine bringing a foster dog to Adams Morgan Day.

Finally, the police. I have met many an officer while walking my dog. I have even been in an elevator with my dog and members of the police force. Even though I tell the officers that my dogs are friendly, they never pet my dog. One officer told me that another dog owner told him that his dog was friendly, so the officer bent down to pet the dog. What happened? The dog bit him and the owner laughed.

Many people are scared of dogs and bully-breeds can be particularly intimidating. It is a dog owner’s responsibility to keep his or her dog on leash and under control at all times. This obviously did not happen here, for a variety of reasons. Parrot was attacking another dog and intimidated at least one person in a very crowded, somewhat chaotic environment. While it is a tragedy that the dog was shot, the burden of blame in this situation falls squarely on the shoulders of Aaron Block, not on the police.

Posted by: 20016DC | September 13, 2010 1:30 PM

At first I was going to vote not sure, but the picture proved that the dog was subdued. There was no need to shoot it.

Posted by: BootmanDC | September 13, 2010 1:30 PM

This dog does not have the appearance of a Shar-Pei (broad head, wrinkled face, curled up tail, or brushy coat). It appears to resemble a pit bull.

You ought to have more eyewitness accounts. Both accounts supporting the police version are from police or retired police, and one is from the officer's commander. Did you intentionally have just two accounts on each side?

The fact given by the owner that his dog bit another dog in passing is damning to me, as this is exceptionally aggressive and violent behavior. However, there's not enough information given in this article.

Posted by: dcc1968 | September 13, 2010 1:32 PM

It's amazing how much value people put on the life of a dog. The second a dog approaches me in any aggressive manner, its life loses all value.

If you can't control you animal, keep it locked up away from the public.

Posted by: PersonL | September 13, 2010 1:37 PM

DCC1968 - I agree that if a dog is "exceptionally aggressive and violent" then it should be dealt with humanely.

With respect to this dog--perhaps it was dangerous, perhaps it wasn't. But we'll never know, now. Because instead of impounding it and taking it for evaluation--which could well have been done, given that it had already been subdued--and humanely euthanized if it were dangerous, it was thrown down the stairs and shot.

So the fact that the dog bit another dog in passing seems really irrelevant to whether the shooting was justified. If the dog posed an imminent threat to the safety of the public, and there were no other method of stopping him, then yes, shoot. But the dog was under the police's control. That should have been the end of the story.

Posted by: JoeSchmoe06 | September 13, 2010 1:45 PM

Chief Lanier says that the other dog was bitten and that 3 people incl. an officer were bitten. Silly, young people think dogs belong in crowded, noisy places. They do not. Only police dogs have been trained for such situations. Yes, the police could have called Animal Control and waited, waited, waited...but things could have gotten worse! The sweetest dogs sometimes bite and that is a good warning to the owners that maybe they should proceed with caution and find a muzzle!

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | September 13, 2010 1:49 PM

I feel sorry for the poor animal and its owner, if only he were just able to walk away with a warning. The dog acted aggressively, but it didn't actually harm a person other than his owner in the attempt to restrain it. I believe shooting an aggressive animal is justifiable, but in this case there are not enough facts to support the killing of this animal.

Posted by: leilaash | September 13, 2010 1:50 PM

I feel sorry for the owner and the loss of his dog, but he has to consider what could have happened had the cops not been there. I wouldn't want any person, especially the small children, to have been bitten by that dog. Every dog owner thinks his pet is an angel, but the rest of the world is not required to take their word for it. The dog looks like a pit bull to me and the cop acted appropriately in dispatching the dog after he had already attacked another dog and then lunged at the cop.

Posted by: PepperDr | September 13, 2010 1:54 PM

What's more dangerous to the public; A dog on a leash or a 40 Cal. slug ricocheting off a concrete stairwell into a crowd of people?

Posted by: yampaco | September 13, 2010 2:05 PM

This whole story makes me sick. Cops best start policing their own. No one made them become officers. Do it right or don't effing do it. From all I've read this guy just went off his nut. The dog had been in a fight with another dog but everything was already ok and calm again when the officer picked the dog up and threw it down a stair well and shot it.
Ass. No, that's not strong enough. He's a criminal. Armed & dangerous and well paid by the city. 
And yes, this applies to the trigger happy 'cops' that unjustly shoot or beat the crap out of people too.   

Posted by: Lifeforce | September 13, 2010 2:11 PM

The fault lies with the owner's inability to control the animal. It appears that the dog, even while leashed, bit another dog and 3 people. Apparently the owner nor the police were not able to calm and restrain the dog - which led to its demise.

Posted by: maus92 | September 13, 2010 2:14 PM

Perhaps, police should stay away from dog festivals...there are plenty other places in the city that need police patrols to protect residents who have serious crime and no festivals!

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | September 13, 2010 2:24 PM

The military has trained hundreds of thousands to kick in doors and terrorize people, and many of them come home and be cops. We shouldn't be surprised at their behavior.

Posted by: steve_k2 | September 13, 2010 2:28 PM

Mr Block was fostering the dog for a rescue that was operating a booth at the festival. Parrot was there to meet potential adopters (this is standard practice for rescues and shelters). The smaller dog attacked Parrot first, according to some accounts. By the time the police arrived, the altercation was over and Mr Block had Parrot under control. The police officer told him to step away and when Mr Block did as he was told, the officer then knelt on the dog as you see in the picture. The dog did not bite or even attack a single person. Mr Block's hand was scraped when he intentionally put it in Parrot's mouth to try to break his hold on the smaller dog - THAT is how sure he was that Parrot was not aggressive toward people. My dog has scraped my hand just playing tug and getting over-exuberant when he grabs at the toy. That isn't a bite. Parrot snapping at the officer - if that happened - while he was being held down in that manner is normal dog behavior! The best trained dogs in the world would react the same way.

Also of note: Parrot was slightly handicapped and had a hard time with stairs under normal circumstances, let alone after being thrown 10ft to the bottom. I find it hard to believe he "charged" the officer when he could barely walk up stairs.

Posted by: DraegosMom | September 13, 2010 2:28 PM

Animals are not toys.

They are independent, thinking, self motivated creatures, they react to circumstances. Owners and Rescue Shelters need to realize that when you bring a dog into a situation that they can't control you have a potential for problems.

This dog should probably not have been shot, but the police officers aren't necessarily to blame. The circumstances that lead up to that moment were stacked against the dog and the cop.

Posted by: gconrads | September 13, 2010 2:49 PM

It's geting really old to have these pit bull owners talking about how wonderful their dog is - even after they become aggressive, and even attack other people. The dog bit another dog, and apprently its owner/handler as well before the police arrived. The dog was surrounded by people, any of which could have been injured by the animal. The dog had no business being out in a crowd, on a trial basis with a new owner. The owner is to blame here.

What do people need with Pit Bulls anyway!? Get with it - those dogs are lethal weapons!

Posted by: TrevorM2000 | September 13, 2010 3:06 PM

Mr. Block has no credibility. He is calling the dog a SharPei mix when it is clearly a PitBull mix. He states that the dog has no history of aggression but he can't possibly know that from fostering the dog for a short period of time. What we do know is that his dog attacked another dog; he initially separated his 'docile' dog but was injured in the process. He had no business bringing that dog to a crowded event like Adam's Morgan Day. He clearly has the 'persecuted pit bull breed' chip on his shoulder and is trying to frame the story that way (while not even being able to admit it is a pit bull). Yet it is people like him who decry others' persecution of the breed but accept no responsibility for those agressive acts of the breed that have contributed mightily to that perception.

Posted by: CoachD1 | September 13, 2010 3:10 PM

Looking at the picture included in the article if you scrolled through them, the officer looks to have the dog in an inappropriate hold to begin with, but the dog looks to be subdued. Throwing a dog or hitting a dog in any way would most likely result in the animal retaliating, but the officer once having the dog held securely as he does in the picture should have just kept him there until the dog could be muzzled or the owner had full control of the animal. There was no excuse for throwing it or for shooting it. I hate to say that the picture evidence definitely works against the police, if he had the dog held the way he did there was no reason to let it up or to shoot it.

Posted by: vmaxwell24 | September 13, 2010 3:16 PM

Posted by: cuebal

Ridiculous, excessive abuse of power. If the police shoot a dog, nothing happens. If I shoot a police dog, I go down for attempted murder. Justice served equally I don't think so


Another know-nothing. You cannot murder a dog. One of the elements of the crime is that the victim has to be a human being.

So many second-guessers. If this would have been Tyronne in Southeast there wouldn't be three posts. .

Posted by: MKadyman | September 13, 2010 3:19 PM

Sure is strange...U tube is everywhere but not one on this situation...how many people were in the area and no cams????

And anyone dumb enough to take their dog to an outdoor festival where there are hundreds if not thousands of people should not complain when something happens to that animal...you may think of your dog as a family member but strangers don't...take your pet only if it is a DOG FESTIVAL...

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 13, 2010 3:39 PM

The Officer that shot the dog, handcuffed and arrested a superior court judge 5 years ago. Interestingly, the article notes that the officer is a K-9 handler...so he probably does not have a vendetta against dogs as some posters here suggested...
:

From the March 8, 2005 Washington Post:
A D.C. Superior Court judge was arrested over the weekend after she refused to return to her car during a traffic stop by a police officer in Northwest Washington.

The judge, Susan R. Winfield, was handcuffed late Sunday morning and taken to the 4th District police headquarters, where she was released after paying a $75 fine for failing to obey an order -- a low-level misdemeanor that carries no jail time, according to authorities.

Winfield, a 20-year veteran of the bench, is a former assistant U.S. attorney who generally is popular with police and prosecutors. Yesterday, she said that the arrest was enormously "embarrassing."

"I kept saying I should have stayed in the car," she said.

But it wasn't until the officer began handcuffing her and calling for backup assistance that she even realized she was in jeopardy of being arrested, Winfield said.

By then, it was too late.

The trouble began just before 11 a.m., when a police officer pulled the judge over in the 6400 block of 16th Street for speeding. Winfield and her teenage daughter were on their way to church.

The judge said yesterday that she did not believe she had been driving more than a mile or two over the 30-mph limit. She stepped out of the car, she said, to find out what was going on.

Using a megaphone mounted on the police cruiser, Officer Scott Fike ordered Winfield back into her car, but she continued to try to make her case. Fike got out of his car and approached her.

Winfield, 56, told the officer that she was doing 30 mph. She quoted Fike as saying that she was going 40 mph. The area in which she was alleged to have been speeding, in the 7200 block of 16th Street, was a construction zone, and that lowered its speed limit to 20 mph, according to D.C. police.

Winfield said that the officer again told her to return to her car. But she did not do so, and the debate over her speed continued.

At one point, she said, she told the officer that she was a judge. She said she made the comment so that he would understand that she was not trying to cause problems.

Because they still were talking, Winfield said, she did not realize that she still was expected to return to her car and that failing to obey the order would land her in trouble.

Fike, who is assigned to the K-9 Unit of the Special Operations Division, arrested Winfield for failing to follow his instructions. He also cited her for speeding; Winfield could still contest the speeding citation.

"My first thought was my daughter," she said. "I hate that she saw that, because you're supposed to be a role model. And then, of course, I was thinking about my job. You're not supposed to get arrested for anything."

Posted by: Y2kob | September 13, 2010 3:41 PM

@JUDITHCLAIRE STATES; Maybe police should stay away from DOG FESTIVALS as they are needed elsewhere....Hmmm....sure didn't know this was a DOG FESTIVAL....I didn't see Lassie or Rin Tin Tin there...guess I missed it....

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 13, 2010 3:45 PM

Mr. Block-
If you control your dog and keep it close to you at all times than nobody should have a problem with the dog being there.
The problem is that dog owners seem to think everyone should love their darling as they do and let their dogs run loose, approach other people and animals, and then wonder why people who are not dog lovers or afraid of dogs get mightily pissed off.
I know this kind of owner and he's so in the wrong.

Posted by: jiboo | September 13, 2010 3:56 PM

Dog owners: Since you insist on projecting human personality traits on your animals, realize that, in human terms, your animals are confused, agitated morons, ready to snap unexpectedly at any moment. Act accordingly.

I pity these animals. Living in the city is stressful enough for *people*. Dogs have no place to run, and then are dragged everywhere against there will. Some are brought to evne more crowded, disorienting places where they understandably freak out, become dangerous, and are shot.

Having a dog in the city is the real crime. The suburbs are dubious as well.

Posted by: Wallenstein | September 13, 2010 4:11 PM

The policeman already had the dog pinned to the ground. A competent policeman could have tied up the dog without any further risk of injury. Heck, a competent animal hair stylist could have tied up the dog without getting injured. In this situation, discharging a firearm in public is inexcusable, and makes me question this person's fitness to serve in active duty.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | September 13, 2010 4:20 PM

The dog "owner" was bitten by his own dog. The dog was in foster care, and this was not a permanent owner who would have extensive knowledge of the dog.

Getting bitten by your own dog in public after it bites another dog...hmmmm...doesn't sound like a passive puppy to me. Sounds more like an aggressive and violent dog that the officer interpreted correctly for the safety of the public knowing that the dog would bite the only person the officer would understand was its owner.

Posted by: streff | September 13, 2010 4:32 PM

Don't blame the Cop why would you bring a dog to a public gathering like that in the first place,not everybody in this city is a dog lover keep the Damn dogs at home or at one of Fenty's $300,000.00 dog parks.

Posted by: Loaf1 | September 13, 2010 4:38 PM

STREFF, the owner wasn't bitten per se. Witness accounts say he put his hand in its mouth intentionally to pull it away from the other dog.

Here's a pic someone took earlier that day of the dog at the Rescue's booth. People everywhere, dog happy.
http://twitpic.com/2ny8y5

Even the nicest dog can snap at another dog. I've seen it happen with teeny serene dogs as much as others. I'm not saying the foster parent is exempt from fault, but if you're going to shoot every dog that snaps at another dog, you're going to have about 5 dogs left in the world.

I've read comments on several articles. Majority of witnesses say the dog was subdued, and the pic of the cop on top of it sure looks that way too. I don't blame the cop for wanting to make sure the dog was subdued...he wants to protect the people. But what justification is there for him to then throw the dog down the stairs and shoot it? Seems to me like heartless reaction to perceived threat of a pit mix. The cop is not supposed to be judge and jury.

Posted by: sunny617 | September 13, 2010 5:45 PM

Firing a gun in a crowd was a far greater danger than that little dog.

Posted by: steve_k2 | September 13, 2010 6:29 PM

Parrot snapped at another dog. Maybe it was more than that. I wasn't there. But I see a picture of a police officer pinning down this dog, knee on his back, hands pinning his head. The article I read says the officer threw the dog over a rail onto a stairway. A man that size (judging from the picture) can hold down that dog until help arrives. They could have cleared the area and subdued him. The owner could have helped. And maybe later it could be decided that the dog was a danger, and be put down humanely. This is an example of a freaked out cop who couldn't handle the situation. The idiot cop is used to dealing with people...rational and aware. All this cop did was agitate a dog and then react like a coward. He is like every cop I have ever met - a bully who is allowed to carry a gun to threaten and use when the situation gets out of his control. I'm not saying the dog was not a danger, but half the cops out there are just as bad.

Posted by: Rainier1 | September 13, 2010 8:37 PM

This story makes me sick. To the many commenters that have excused the behavior of the police officer in question I respectfully suggest that officers of the law ARE held to a higher standard of restraint and judgement as they SHOULD be. Society gives them the authority to carry lethal weapons and utilize them when no other REASONABLE option exists to maintain public safety or the safety of themselves. Clearly the officer had the dog under control - and it frankly doesn't matter if the dog bite 3 people or not because the dog was under control and no further action needed to be taken other than waiting for properly trained professional to transport the dog out of the situation. I know some people have a hard time with human and animal comparisons but imagine if every human that reacted unpredictably, agitated, or even aggressive with cops were subsequently restrained but then shot and killed because "well he may or may not have bite 3 other people" or he "may or may not have hit that guy at the bar and started a bar fight" or on and on with the examples that could be given.
As a fairly new transplant to DC I am amazed at how un-dog friendly this place is...I have a boston terrier who is less than 20 lbs....and I have already lost count at how many people react to the site of my dog with fear, anxiety, animosity, and general ignorance. The simpler and more effective thing to do if someone is honestly unsure of any dog (because, yes, breed-profiling is a real concept and is a serious issue) is to ask the handler if the dog is friendly.
Lastly, I am shocked at how many commenters seem to be experts in breed analysis based on the pictures presented here. I wonder if you offer your expert services to humans as well to identify heritage with such accuracy?

Posted by: Chadjeremy | September 13, 2010 11:35 PM

Chad,

DC is not so un-dog friendly - what has occurred is there are many pet owners who feel they have a right to completely ignore their responsibility.

Keep your eyes open and you will understand! Perhaps what occurred is that people had a run-in with a dog that looks like yours.

Dogs have no place in “Children’s Play Areas” nor allowed to run loose in parks, except “Dog Parks” but it happens. I get really disgusted when I see an unleashed dog walking next to its owner/handler and get a response when I ask about their knowledge of the law they say “OH, he/she is OK” or other unkind remarks I will not mention.

So yes, DC is becoming a unfriendly place due the ignorance of those who have no respect for the safety of their pet and the public in general!

Posted by: Chris543 | September 14, 2010 6:23 AM

Evidently most posters (Steve_K2 especially) fail to understand the ramifications of the "owner's" actions. That dog was doomed to be killed the moment he took a foster animal to a very public, very crowded, very stressful fair. That was Mr. Bloch's first mistake. Second mistake, believing he knew the true temperment of a "foster" dog. That takes a few years; Mr. Bloch acted irresponisibly and the supportive fair-goers are just lucky it was another pet and not a child. Pet owners are responsible for their animals behavior at all times, and have to accept full responsiblity for the fall-out of their arroganance and ignorance. As a final note, since Mr. Bloch's animal atacked another dog- chances are Mr. Bloch's dog would have been put to sleep. There rarely are second chances for animals that attack. The police did their job to protect the public even if deemed 'overkill'; DC residents (Mr. Bloch and friends) failed to do theirs, i.e. exercise due diligence.

Posted by: devilsadvocate3 | September 14, 2010 7:24 AM

Animals of any sort are considered to be property. I don't really know all the circumstances leading to this dog being shot, but I will say this. You people who are not Police Officers should not expect them to risk themselves just because they are sworn to protect and serve. If this dog did in fact lunge towards this Officer in an aggressive manner, then he is justified in shooting it. No pepper spray and no ASP baton. The teeth of a dog can cause serious bodily injury or even death, so, lethal force is appropriate. It was unfortunate that this Officer had to resort to this, but look at it this way. If the dogs owner would have maintained control of his pooch, this would have never happened and we wouldn't be here taking a silly poll on whether or not this was justified.

Posted by: Chazo | September 14, 2010 7:33 AM

Ok, I read through all these comments, and I must say that the vast majority of these comments are made by liberal, idiotic, PETA wannabe, cop hating yuppies!!!! Get a freaking life and let the cops be cops. That's what cops do, take control of situations, and make last second decisions. Everybody always has to question a cops way of handling a situation. Well guess what, cops don't tell you how to do your job, so don't go trying to tell them how to do theirs. This was not a dog festival, and cops are needed in these festivals for many obvious reasons.

Posted by: Chazo | September 14, 2010 7:47 AM

A don't think discharging his firearm in a large non threatening crowd to "kill" an aggressive dog shows good police judgment. Didn't the dog have a leash? Couldn't it have been pulled away from the other dog(s) it was snapping on. In the pic the police office subdued the dog was it necessary to shoot it too? Especially after "throwing" it down some stairs/over a balcony. I will agree there is a lot of emotions on both sides and we may never find out what really happened but it seems to me a an overly aggressive police officer met an aggressive dog and the results were tragic.

Posted by: CEbattl | September 14, 2010 9:42 AM

Posted by DraegosMom:
Parrot was slightly handicapped and had a hard time with stairs under normal circumstances, let alone after being thrown 10ft to the bottom.
---------------
This breaks my heart. He must have been so frightened and in pain after being thrown down the stairs by the cop. Unbelievable cruelty. :(

Posted by: itsme1 | September 14, 2010 10:56 AM

Dear Ms. Lanier, (Cathy.Lanier@dc.gov)

I am writing to express my concern regarding the way Office Fike handled the situation with Parrot this past weekend. I have several friends in DC who are officers, many who have earned great respect in their communities. It is such a shame that the public outcry and public response/eyewitness reports are being disregarded by your office in a form that could likely cost you your post.
Animal advocates and the general public are equally as upset at the force and unnecessary use of violence displayed against Parrot. The mere idea that he could be thrown down a stairwell and shot point blank AFTER he was subdued and visually calm (see: photo of Officer Fike kneeling on him) boggles my mind. What kind of Officer can be trusted to keep the peace when he'd act in such a distinctly cold-blooded manner towards an innocent dog. Was it because he believed the dog was a "so-called dangerous breed?" I can't imagine how two dogs getting into a scuffle in public could result in such a terrible ending. I urge you to take action against this Officer, please reprimand him for the cruelty he displayed against an innocent animal. Please keep in mind how many children witnessed this heinous crime against Parrot, how many children will now have a fear of the Police the way this Officer clearly has a fear of dogs.

We have held several fundraisers in Washington, DC for local shelters and have sponsored many dogs at WHS. We hope that you will support the public on this one and protect them from such an Officer. Please be aware, this information is no longer just a DC-based issue, the story has gone viral to thousands of rescue groups, advocacy groups, and the general public beyond DC's reach. We are all hopeful that you will do the right thing.

Sincere regards,

Deirdre S. Franklin
President & Founder
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Posted by: LittleDarlingPFPB | September 14, 2010 12:46 PM

Whether you are a dog lover or not, everyone should be sickened by the way Officer Fike acted. Parrot was clearly under control as we can see by the way Officer Fike was kneeling on him. Throwing him down a flight of stairs was not only out of line but stupid and I believe was the sole reason the dog was shot to begin with. Did he expect the dog to shake after that? If someone threw me down a flight of stairs I would come up fighting too.
I have read that Officer Fike is a K-9 handler so I highly doubt he has a fear of dogs in general but just because someone likes dogs doesn't mean they don't stereotype them. I have a family member who LOVES animals but is afraid of Pit Bull type dogs, that being said she doesn't think they should all be put to sleep either.
I have noticed that many people seem to think Parrot's foster dad is at fault for even bringing him to the event to begin with, there are a number of problems with that. First of all let's not forget the poodles parents brought him/her as well and I haven't read anything about them being at fault. Second of all, it seems the rescue Parrot was being fostered from had a booth at the festival...of course there would be dogs there. Third of all, I have been to many events, both for animals and not, and people always bring pets and I have never heard of an dog being shot for getting into a scuffle with another dog at ANY of the events. It happens. Not all dogs get along with each other just like not all humans get along with each other. No I am not giving dogs human qualities I'm just stating a fact. Are cops going to start shooting people at every bar fight they respond to?
Let's not forget about all the people and children who witnessed the shooting. How are these kids supposed to look up to cops and trust them to protect them when they have now seen one shoot a dog? Kids don't understand, heck I don't understand, but all the kids saw was a cop who is supposed to help kill an animal after he threw it down a flight of stairs. I wouldn't trust them after that if I was a child.
I seriously hope that Officer Fike is reprimanded for him actions and something like this doesn't happen again. Don't let Parrot have given him life for nothing, let's all learn from this situation.

Posted by: FawnaBlue | September 14, 2010 1:33 PM

I find it appalling what this officer did. You can bet that he shot the dog because it looked like a pit-bull. The breed gets a bad rap ALL THE TIME. It is the owners that make the breed bad not the animal itself. The breed only does what is asked of it, any dog for that matter only does what it is asked of it. If that dog would have been another breed mix that had no resemblance to the pitt you can bet your life it wouldn't have gotten shot. Any dog can bite, attack, or act stupid. In my opinion this dog was under control, on a leash, and being handled properly by it's foster/owner. What makes this even more horrific is that this dog was a rescue and still ended up like this! Disgusting, just disgusting. Makes me so sad to see that police officers turn to violence before anything else. And we worry about the criminals! We should be worrying about the people that are being paid to protect us!

Posted by: jeanettefackler9 | September 14, 2010 1:37 PM

If you throw any dog down the stairs, or if you act aggressively towards them of course they are going to react, regardless of breed. Why didn't the poodle who bit Parrot get shot or thrown around?

Posted by: Doolie34 | September 14, 2010 2:00 PM

Wow its pretty scary to know we live in a country where shooting dogs is so common place anymore, especially when it comes to pit bulls. When will these shoot first ask questions later officers be held accountable for there actions? Shooting dogs seems cowardly to me especially in this instance, seems it didnt have to come to this.

Posted by: PitBullPositive | September 14, 2010 2:55 PM

I think this was a good example of the "God" position some of the police takes in this country. I did not read anywhere in that story where 3 people were bit as everyone keeps saying other than the owner who was injured in the process of breaking up the dog fight. I worked in a vet office and am a dog owner. I own dogs as small as a chihuahua to as large as a great dane. And yes, I do own 2 full blooded pits and a pit/hound mix. And I can say with experience (as I worked anywhere from the front desk to the grooming dept at our vet), small dogs can be quite snappy too. So something tells me that that poodle had a small part in that fight. Small dogs (including my own chihuahua) have big dog attitude and if they feel intimidated by the size of another dog, they are the first to let that dog know. With that being said, that dog fight was over. The dogs were calming down. What right did that cop have to come into the scene and throw that dog down the way he did and then once he had the dog "under control" (what an ass), he picks it up and throws it down some stairs?!?! Shar-pei's are not that large of a dog. She looks like she may have had some pit in her too but they too depending upon background aren't particularly large either. It was not necessary for that cop to do what they did. I am sorry ... if someone threw me down a set of stairs, I would get up and start charging too!! It is called defense mode, ever felt it?!?! If the idiot cop would have just kept that dog down and then gently let it up, everything would have been fine. I have torn many dogs fights apart myself (I don't think about it, just react) and I did not need a gun to do it. These cops need to go through training again in these situations. They have plainly forgotten how to think with their heads than react with their emotions. They are no better than the dogmen they are lawfully expected to catch and process. Losers, everyone of them.

Posted by: gr8dainmama | September 14, 2010 4:24 PM

As a pit bull rescuer/advocate this officers actions infuriates me! Then reading this article to see that the dog was a shar-pei mix and the officer assumed it was a pit bull just goes to show that something has to change and change now.
Don't let this one go unpunished people of D.C. This was wrong on so many levels.

Posted by: GVPitCrew | September 14, 2010 7:03 PM

There is not a human being in this country that love dogs anymore than I do. Dogs should not be allowed at Public Gatherings. I am going to seek legislation to band dogs from Public Gatherings. The gatherings are for the PUBLIC (not our pets). This a perfect example of what most owners say about their dogs,"Oh, he or she won't bite." How in the name of God does anyone know what a dog wil do in certain surrendings. The police darn sure gets my VOTE! Thank You, Verna S. Williams

Posted by: billiboix3 | September 14, 2010 7:36 PM

It is amazing to me that people see what they want to see and read what they want to see and form their opinions on a breed of dog based on what other people & the media say about it. So, here are the facts of this story which MANY of the people on here apparently missed in the news articles: 1.) Poodle type dog was not leashed and was completely unrestrained by its owner. 2.) Poodle type dog attacks the pit bull type dog numerous times with no reaction from the pit bull type dog 3.) Fully restrained and leashed pit bull type dog nips at the poodle type dog which is now latched on to his face attacking him. Pit bull is sending a message to the poodle to "knock it off". 4.) Owner of pit bull type dog gains control of his dog and separates the dogs without assistance from the poodle type dog's owner because she didn't have him leashed. 5.) Pit bull type dog is pinned to the ground, brutally abused and thrown down a stairwell and then fatally shot by a punk cop who was trying to inflate his ego by firing his big bad gun. Why the hell didn't he shoot the subject that was unrestrained and started the fight??????????? I sure would like to know why the punk ass poodle type dog wasn't shot. If any of the animals were at fault and should have been disciplined it should have been the poodle, but of course nothing else is being said about the poodle. If a pit bull wanted to hurt a poodle, one bite would have killed it. It is obvious, the pit bull had tolerated enough of the annoying poodle and was sending it a message to stop. Such a tragedy that a beautiful, calm and smart dog was senselessly abused and killed for absolutely no reason. For the haters out there, pit bulls save lives every day and serve as working and therapy dogs so quit listening to others and get to know them for yourself and then form your opinions.

Posted by: vthokienc | September 14, 2010 9:46 PM

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