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Ville Platte, LA — Kelli Sullivan and family are grieving the loss of their pet terrier mix. But their beloved dog didn’t die of natural causes as one might expect. Instead, the family says an Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed the tiniest member of their family, all because the dog was barking.

I know in my heart he didn’t have to shoot her. He didn’t have to shoot that dog in front of my kids. He just didn’t.

In fact, the officer’s business had already been conducted at the home, after police were called to assist with a harassing neighbor. It was toward the end of the contact with police that the dog got out of the house and ran towards the officer. The dog is just above ankle height on most people. Sullivan says the dog was just doing what it always does when strangers come to the home.

The dog got out. I walked to the end of the driveway to try to catch her.

Sullivan said her daughter was also trying to help her mother corral the dog and get it back inside the house.

My daughter was running around trying to catch her. I thought we were going to go back in the house.

She says just when she thought the dog had been caught, that’s when the puppycide happened.

I walked back to the house opened the door, turned around, (and) boom, he shot her.

The young mother then described the horror the entire family, including young children, were exposed to. The dog literally exploded with the force of the handgun’s projectile.

It was a horrific event. He shot the dog up close and blew her skull apart in front of my children. Like her eyeballs were out of her head.

She said the officer’s cold-hearted insensitivity was on full display with the snarky comment he made after he’d just killed who they considered a member of their family. She said the unnamed officer was upset that he had to waste such an expensive hollow-point bullet on the dog. Unapologetically she says the deputy remarked:

‘I had to shoot her she came at me’. Then, he said, ‘It’s really a shame I had to waste that bullet because it’s a really expensive bullet’.

While civilians are attempting to document the number of people killed by police officers per year (which tops around 1,200 annually), there’s no official number of family pets killed per year and it’s assumed that the number may be astronomical. After all, just as the Evangeline Parish officer claimed, the police only have to claim they were in fear and they can be legally justified in killing a family pet, regardless if the animal is being aggressive or not.

Rarely if ever do families sue, and even rarer still did they win in court when they try to receive compensation for emotional or actual damages when police kill family pets. Complicating matters for dog owners, as TFTP has reported, courts in the United States have sided with law enforcement on the issue of law enforcement’s right to kill animals in the line of duty.

In the land of the free, police can come onto your private property, gun your tiny dog down in broad daylight, and this is called ‘standard procedure.’ Well, it’s a damn good thing that postal workers, delivery truck drivers, pizza delivery drivers — and all the other jobs that require people to go to someone’s home and NOT KILL THEIR DOG — don’t claim the same rights as cops, or family pets would probably be extinct.

Sadly, this trend shows no signs of slowing.

According to some estimates, as John Whitehead points out, a dog is shot by a police officer “every 98 minutes.”

The Department of Justice estimates that at least 25 dogs are killed by police every day.

The Puppycide Database Project estimates the number of dogs being killed by police to be upwards of 500 dogs a day (which translates to 182,000 dogs a year).

Because not all police departments keep track of canine shootings, these numbers vary widely. However, whatever the final body count, what we’re dealing with is an epidemic of vast proportions.

Incredibly, in 1 out of 5 cases involving police shooting a family pet, a child was either in the police line of fire or in the immediate area of a shooting.

The so-called “dangerous” breeds of dogs aren’t the only ones that are being killed in encounters with police either as this case and the one’s below illustrate.

Journalist Radley Balko has documented countless “dog shootings in which a police officer said he felt ‘threatened’ and had no choice but to use lethal force, including the killing of a Dalmatian (more than once), a yellow Lab , a springer spaniel, a chocolate Lab, a boxer, an Australian cattle dog, a Wheaten terrier, an Akita… a Jack Russell terrier… a 12-pound miniature dachshund… [and] a five-pound Chihuahua.”

To those that think cops killing dogs is not a problem, we encourage you to watch the video below and then take a look through our puppycide archives here. 


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Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine