Oakland police defend shooting family's dog

October 1, 2010 6:26:10 PM PDT
Oakland police are taking a lot of heat after killing a family's dog while responding to a burglar alarm.

Police officials are defending the officer's actions but say they are re-examining their policies and they have also offered to replace the family's Labrador with a puppy.

"We're going to improve our policies to see how can better deal with animals and if we can do that we can improve ourselves," Oakland police spokesperson Jeff Thomason said.

Oakland police spent Friday responding to an outpouring of e-mails and calls by angry citizens mad at police for shooting Gloria, an 11-year-old arthritic yellow lab.

Gloria had been part of the Hallock family since she was a puppy.

Matthew Hallock picked her when he was three because she looked like his beloved teddy bear.

"I don't think she needed to go like this; she was a good dog, she didn't deserve to die this way," Isabel Hallock said.

Officers came to the house Tuesday around noon to investigate a burglar alarm. Family members were not at home and the back door was open.

"The dog came out of the house and was charging at the officers growling; the officer tried to back up, couldn't back up in time and had to discharge his firearm, killing the dog," Thomason said.

Police say the officers stayed around for an hour, trying to locate the family. They finally left a note saying they killed the dog after she came at them in a threatening manner.

The family admits Gloria had a loud bark, but says she was harmless.

"A lab, everyone knows labs are just not?maybe all bark and no bite, not aggressive animals though," Mary Kate Hallock said.

The Hallocks ask why the officer had to use his gun.

"Was there pepper spray? Mace or a baton?" Ward Hallock asked.

Thomason says the officer did not have time to switch weapons.

"Their firearm was out, this was a quick second decision that took place," Thomason said.

Police want to bring a puppy to the Hallocks, courtesy of some citizens who are willing to donate a pet to replace Gloria, but Matthew is not yet ready.

"I feel I need to get over the shock of moving on to another pet, another dog," he said.

This is the second time Oakland police have shot and killed an animal since May. An officer shot a deer that had leapt over a fence into a backyard of a home in East Oakland. In that incident police continued firing at the animal when the deer did not die from the first shots. The shooting, which was captured on video by a neighbor, caused an angry response from residents and wildlife activists.


Load Comments