Responding to a false alarm, a Minneapolis police officer entered a family’s fenced backyard and shot their two dogs. Surveillance footage shows neither dog was charging or threatening the officer.
While dog owner, Jennifer LeMay is demanding answers, her dogs are fighting for their lives.
LeMay and her four children were away on a weekend camping trip while a friend watched the family’s dogs, Ciroc and Rocco, both American Staffordshire terriers the family raised from puppies.
On Saturday night, LeMay’s two daughters, aged 18 and 13, ended their camping trip early and headed home. They arrived home at 8:50pm Saturday night. One of the girls accidentally triggered the home’s security alarm, but cancelled the alarm just a few minutes later at 8:54pm.
At 9:15pm, two Minneapolis Police officers arrived at the LeMay home. The did not approach the front door. Instead, one officer stood in front of the house while the second officer climbed over a 7-foot tall privacy fence to enter the backyard.
Surveillance footage from the family’s home camera system shows the horrific moments that followed. An officer standing in the backyard, looking around, begins slowly approaching the home. Seconds later, the officer backs up, gun drawn, as a brown and white dog, Ciroc, walks toward him, tail wagging, and stops about 10 feet away. The dog appears curious of the man in his backyard, but is certainly not charging after him.
The officer shoots. Ciroc stumbles and walks away. Rocco runs toward the scene, he is also shot before walking away.
WARNING: The video below may be disturbing to some viewers:
LeMay’s 13-year old daughter saw the entire incident from her upstairs bedroom window.
Only after the dogs were shot did an officer knock on the LeMay’s front door where they learned that the home alarm had been accidentally triggered and had been deactivated more than 20-minutes before police arrived at the home and more than 40-minutes before the dogs were shot.
Meanwhile, Ciroc and Rocco laid injured and bleeding from multiple bullet wounds in the backyard. Officers would not allow the LeMay’s to take the dogs to an emergency veterinarian, telling them that Animal Control would be arriving to assess their medical needs. No one from Animal Control ever showed up.
Both dogs miraculously survived the shooting. Ciroc was shot once in the jaw, he received medical care and was able to return home Sunday night. Rocco was shot multiple times in the face, side, and shoulder and is still being treated at the University of Minnesota. The care and treatment for both dogs is expected to reach nearly $10,000. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for veterinary bills.
Police spokesman Corey Schmidt sent a statement regarding the incident to the Star Tribune:
“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. We are in the process of reviewing the surveillance footage posted online, as well as the officer’s body camera video.”
Police on dog shootings continue to rise. In fact, it has been estimated that 50% of all intentional shots fired by police are aimed at dogs. The Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (DOJ COPS) office, calls police-on-dog-shootings an “epidemic” and estimates that 25 to 30 pet dogs are shot and killed each day by law enforcement officers. Learn more about this growing problem, what you can do to protect your pets, and how to increase awareness and create change right here.