Police Chief Calls Shooting of Family Dog 'Unfortunate'
Mary Kate Hallock holds a leash that belonged to her dog Gloria at her home in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, September 30, 2010. Gloria, an 11-year-old Labrador Retriever, was shot and killed on Tuesday by Oakland police who were responding to a burglar a
San Jose Mercury News via YellowBrix
October 01, 2010
OAKLAND, CA – Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said Friday that the fatal shooting of a family dog by an officer investigating a burglar alarm was “unfortunate” and that the department would be investigating the incident, the second police killing of an animal in five months.
Gloria, an 11-year-old arthritic yellow Labrador owned by Ward and Mary Kate Hallock since she was a puppy, was shot dead Tuesday after it advanced on an officer “in a threatening manner,” police said.
The officer, identified by sources as Victor Garcia, shot Gloria three times with his .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic handgun after the dog came out through an open rear door of the Hallocks’ home on Burgos Avenue in the Knowland Park neighborhood in the Oakland hills.
Garcia told investigators that “the dog was growling and closing the gap between them as the officer was retreating backward,” police said in a statement Friday. “As the dog continued to advance, the officer discharged his firearm, killing the dog.”
Garcia has not been placed on leave pending an investigation into the incident, police said.
The shooting outraged the Hallocks and their two children. While acknowledging that Gloria was known to bark and be protective, they said police did not have to use deadly force and could have used a Taser or pepper spray, or even thrown the dog some food to calm her down.
In a statement Friday, Batts said, "It is an unfortunate incident when you have a family pet protecting its home and officers responding to protect the property. The end result is not something we wanted, and my heart goes out to the family who has lost their dog.
“We are investigating the incident to ensure that proper policies and procedures were followed and evaluating possible ways to improve outcomes related to future contacts with animals,” the chief said.
Batts’ comments echoed remarks he made after an officer shot and killed a young deer in an East Oakland backyard May 1.
The officer who killed the deer has been disciplined, and Sgt. Terrance West, who ordered that the deer be shot, has been demoted to officer, source said.
West was demoted after an internal investigation determined that the shooting, which was caught on videotape, was not in accordance with department policy, the sources said.
Ward Hallock said Friday that he was heartened by Batts’ statement about Gloria’s killing.
“I’m sincerely glad to hear him speak in that tone,” he said. “A lot of law enforcement folks can’t do that; they’re more of a command tone than what he (Batts) portrayed there.”
Hallock said he also appreciated getting a call from Sgt. Randy Brandwood, the patrol supervisor at the time of the incident.
“He was quite contrite,” Hallock said. “He’s a dog owner himself.”
Hallock said he wants to sit on some kind of citizen review board that would look at policies for how officers should deal with house pets and other animals.
“Some people are afraid of dogs,” he said. “A dog can rush and it can be misinterpreted on both sides of the fence.”
He added, “I’m not out to get them (the city or police) or cause them any financial harm. I just want to do what I can as a citizen, to offer my services to volunteer on a board, to help develop policy that will reduce, if not eliminate, this kind of incident.”