Richland, MS – A 4 yr-old German shepherd was shot and killed before his owner’s very eyes on Wednesday.
The tragedy began when the dog slipped from his fenced yard – only the second time he had done so over the past four years.
While the dog, named Rosco, was out, he encountered a 16 yr-old girl who tried, unsuccessfully, to catch him.
In the process, Rosco growled.
A reaction not overly surprising – a stranger chasing a frightened dog in the dark could elicit a growl.
The growl prompted the girl to phone the police – who arrived en masse a short time later.
The officers who arrived claim that the dog rushed them – acting aggressively – and that their lethal shot was necessary.
The dog’s owner, John Harrison, has a different version.
According to Harrison, his dog was huddled beneath the carport – waiting to come back inside of the house.
Harrison claims that the when his son, Adam, exited the house, the door caused the dog to run towards the officers, who had their guns trained on the dog.
Though the Harrisons rushed their seriously injured dog into the house in an effort to stem the flow of blood, their efforts failed and he died.
The family has many complaints about what happened – beyond their dog being shot by the officers, they allege that the officers refused to move their vehicles so that Rosco could be rushed to a vet clinic.
They also claim that one of the officers offered to shoot the dog again – to put him out of his misery. Rosco’s owner alleges that the “offer” was not made out of kindness.
The Harrisons also wonder why the gun was discharged in the presence of Adam Harrison.
In so many of these stories which involve police officers shooting family pets, the glaring question remains – why lethal force as a first option?
Why aren’t non-lethal options considered first?
Could the officers not wait for animal control to arrive? Does a gun always have to be the first choice?
Rosco’s reaction towards strangers approaching his home, in the dark, was not unusual. German shepherds are protective of their home and family by their very nature.
One would think (hope) that an officer would be aware that a frightened dog very well may bark, growl and show teeth.
Of little surprise is the official response from the police department which was involved in the shooting – according to them, the officer’s reaction was justified.
Rest in Peace Rosco.
Please note, the dog featured in the photo which accompanies this story is not Rosco. This dog is available for adoption through the Merced County Animal Control. Read his Petfinder Profile at this link.
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