A Bronx woman is both devastated and desperate for justice after a New York police officer shot and killed her beloved dog, at point-blank range, in the stairwell of her apartment building for, as she describes, “no reason.”
“He was my beloved, and now he’s gone,” Yvonne Rosado told CBS News through tears.
Last month, police were called to Rosado’s apartment building for an issue entirely unrelated to the dog. NYPD officers were talking with a neighbor when Rosado cracked open her door to see what was going on outside her apartment. That’s when Spike, a 4-year old pit bull Rosado describes as a friendly, lovable gentle giant, wriggled through the opening and approached officer Ruben Cuesta.
The moment Spike slipped out, Rosado began yelling to the officers, “he’s friendly, he’s friendly!”
In only a matter of seconds from the time Rosado cracked open her door, officer Cuesta pulled out his gun and shot the dog. Rosado, still in her underwear, ran into the stairwell to comfort her dog as he lay dying in the hallway, his tail still wagging.
Surveillance video captured the entire incident in which, Rosado says, Spike did not charge or threaten the officer but, as a friendly dog, only wanted to greet the man.
Emotionally distraught, Rosado then confronted the officer that shot her dog. Within seconds, 3 officers tackled Rosado, pinning her into the stairs.
“They jumped on top of me – three men,” she said. “I’m in my undergarments in the hallway.”
“They pinned her down to the stairs,” added neighbor Irma Santiago. “Her whole back was black and blue.”
Now, Rosado has hired an attorney and is seeking justice for the senseless killing of her dog.
NYPD officers have recently begun carrying stronger, more potent pepper spray as a non-fatal defense against dogs. Police refused to say whether the officer that shot Spike was carrying the new pepper spray. According to NYPD policy, cops can shoot at animals “only to defend themselves or others from threat of physical injury, or death.” They are only allowed to use their weapons “as a last resort to stop an animal attack.”
Police released a preliminary statement about the shooting:
“The incident is being reviewed by our Force Investigation Division and the findings will be subject to a firearms discharge review board,” a police spokesman said.
Officer Cuesta was taken to the hospital to be treated for tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, as a result of shooting within an enclosed space.
Not only have the entire family and neighbors that witnessed the shooting been traumatized, they are horrified to think of what else could have gone wrong. Children and other residents were within only a few feet of the scene where the shooting occurred.