Minneapolis cop shoots family’s therapy dogs

[This post has been updated to include a statement from Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau]

From available evidence, a Minneapolis police officer wasn’t being threatened by a dog when he answered a burglar alarm at a home in north Minneapolis Saturday afternoon. But Ciroc and Rocko, two Staffordshire terrier therapy dogs, got shot anyway.

It happened when Jennifer LeMay’s daughter accidentally set off a burglar alarm when she came home from a camping trip.

When officers arrived, apparently 15 minutes after a daughter deactivated the burglar alarm, one cop jumped a fence and met the dogs.

“He was wagging his tail,” LeMay tells the Star Tribune. “My dog wasn’t even moving, lunging toward him or anything.

Security video LeMay posted on her Facebook page confirms her account, based on her 13-year-old daughter, who said she saw it all from an upstairs bedroom.


(Video link)

After the shooting, the officers told the family animal control would arrive to assess the dog’s medical needs so they didn’t take the dogs to the vet immediately. Nobody ever showed up.

LeMay has paid $900 in vet costs for Ciroc who has returned home but she says he’ll still need $5,000 to $7,000 worth of surgery. Ciroc has a broken jaw.

Photo: Jennifer LeMay

Rocko returned home on Sunday night.

Minneapolis police posted a statement Sunday afternoon on its Facebook page:

“We are aware of the recent incident involving MPD officers responding to an audible residential burglary alarm and while at this call an MPD officer discharged their firearm, striking two dogs belonging to the homeowner. Anytime an officer discharges their firearm in the line of duty there is an investigation that is completed by the Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit. We are in the process of reviewing the video posted online, as well as the officer’s body camera video. We have reached out to the owner of the dogs and will continue to do so during the investigation. At this time there is no further information we can release.”

A GoFundMe page, apparently set up by a family member, quickly reached its $8,000 goal.

Related: 10 Stereotypes About Pit Bulls That Are Just. Dead. Wrong. (Huffington Post)

[Update 7/10/17 3:01 p.m.]

Statement from Minneapolis Police Department Chief Janeé Harteau:

I’ve watched the video, and as someone whose family has included dogs most of my life, I can say that it was difficult to watch. This was an outcome that no one wanted. I’ve asked for an Internal Affairs use of force review. We are reaching out to the family to help them with the veterinary care bills to ensure that both dogs are adequately taken care of.

To help us prevent similar outcomes in the future, we will be implementing updated mandatory training specifically for officers identifying effective tools and tactical strategies with police and dog encounters. We want both our officers and all our community members to be safe.