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A pair of stunningly beautiful 3-year old Siberian Huskies were shot and killed by Crown Point, Indiana police on Wednesday after a frantic 9-1-1 caller claimed that a pair of “wolves or coyotes” were loose and attacking her cat.
When police arrived on scene, they witnessed the cat being attacked by two animals that they assumed were coyotes, not a pair of beloved family pets that had simply escaped their yard.
The Northwest Indiana Gazette reported that police initially tried pepper-spraying the dogs to break up the attack, but when that didn’t work, at least one officer fired at the dogs, killing them.
Witnesses report that each dog was shot at least 3 to 4 times.
The dogs’ owners, Lindsay Schild and Brad Nitz, say the dogs escaped from Brads father-in-laws home in Liberty Park. The dogs were not wearing collars or tags.
Brad Nitz told The Examiner, “They knew all commands on how to pull a sled and they pulled me on my mountain bike. They’re just so awesome the nicest dogs ever. Wish you could have met them.”
He and Lindsay rescued the pair of Siberian Huskies, named Atka and Kenai, about 3 years ago from a couple that had moved from Alaska to “the lower 48,” and that they were the smartest dogs he’d ever owned.
The shooting has sparked nationwide outrage over yet another police shooting involving a dog, occurring just on the heels of the emotional police shooting of Max the Rottweiler in Hawthorne, California.
With about 50% of all intentional police shootings involving dogs, the need for police training in both animal behavior and dog handling has become a very real necessity.
Schild says she doesn’t want her dogs’ deaths to be in vain. “I’m going to do everything in my power to try to get something changed so people become more aware of huskies. I want to get something out there so this doesn’t happen again,” she told Crown Point Community.
Police say shooting the dogs was “an absolute last resort,” as they believed the dogs were a serious threat to their own safety. One of the officers on scene is a K-9 handler.
What do you think could be done to put an end to the continued problem of family dogs dying at the hands of police? Weigh in with a comment below.
Rest in peace, Atka and Kenai.