Dog Shooting Prompts Claim against Kerman PD

June 12, 2009 12:48:09 AM PDT
One month after a dog was shot and killed by a Kerman Police Officer, the dog's owner is preparing to sue the officer and the police department."I seen like a flash and then I turned this corner and there was a bunch of smoke."

Several members of the Botelho family were inside their home last month when their 11 month old pit bull was shot and killed in their living room.

"The officer asked if he could come in and speak to my son. I said yes; let me put my dogs away. So I went to the back door to the put the dogs away and by the time I turned around, took a couple steps, he was inside my house and he shot my dog," said Christine Botelho.

Botelho says the officer came to talk with her son about a stolen skateboard.

Police Chief Bill Newton knows the case well, he is also the Botelho's neighbor. It was his grandson's missing skateboard that initially brought the officer to the home.

Kerman Police Chief Bill Newton said, "The dog started attacking him. It was growling and he removed his service weapon from his holster and it attacked him."

Although Newton wasn't there during the shooting, he walked over seconds later. He says it was clear the officer felt in danger after listening to an audio recording, taken by the officer of the entire incident.

"Whose blank dog is this and like with a half a second you hear growling and then very rapid succession two shots," said Chief Bill Newton.

The officer also gave that account in his written report.

The officer was cleared of any wrongdoing through an investigation also conducted by the Kerman Police Department. The police chief says when the officer fired, he was unaware of even whose dog it was since it entered behind him.

Mac was buried under his doghouse in the Botelho's backyard. For the family and their attorney no explanation can justify the shooting inside their home.

Attorney Mark Coleman said, "The chief of police says in a report to the media that people need to learn to control their animals. This dog was in his home, this dog lived here. They have no obligation to control their dog. This chief needs to control his officers."

Before the officer arrived, the skateboard was already returned to its owner. The Botelho's say it was left in their front yard the night before, so they put it in their garage overnight.

They claim they had no intention of stealing their neighbor's skateboard.

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