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Department stands by trooper who shot family dog before raiding wrong home

Mikael Thalen

May 7, 2014

A Pennsylvania man is accusing a state trooper of excessive force after his dog was shot and killed outside his grandson’s bedroom window late last week.

abc27 WHTM

Jeff Blitz, who let his dog Ace out early Thursday morning, detailed the moment he heard gun shots while sitting inside his garage.

“They shot the dog and then came to the garage. The dog came around to me and he (the trooper) said ‘you better calm down,’” Blitz told ABC 27. “I said, ‘calm down? You just killed my dog.’”

Blitz’s neighbor, William Maynes, who heard the entire altercation from his home across the street, gave even greater insight into the trooper’s actions.

“There was a lady running down the road saying ‘don’t shoot the dog, don’t shoot the dog,’” Maynes recalled. “… So I got up, looked out the window and all the sudden I heard bang, bang, bang…”

According to police, several local and federal law enforcement agencies were attempting to issue an arrest warrant for Blitz’s daughter when the dog was shot. When researching for the arrest, the agencies failed to discover that Blitz’s daughter had long since moved from the residence.

Even worse, Blitz’s 5-year-old grandson Dane was only feet away inside his room as the trooper wildly shot twice into the lawn before hitting the dog.

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“They walked away when I pointed it out, I said ‘you already took one part of my family and there’s a second one in there watching TV,’” Blitz said. “He could of got it too.”

Despite Ace being shot in the side, which leads Blitz to believe his dog was not being a threat to officers, Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson Rob Hicks defended the shooting, arguing that the offending trooper was likely keeping people safe.

“Every once in a while we get thrown into a situation where we have to protect either ourselves or somebody else and this is one of those situations,” Hicks said.

Blitz says the hardest part has been explaining the situation to his grandson, who watched Ace get buried in the backyard as police stood around in the front.

“He was just out there sitting talking to him a while ago,” Blitz explained. “He asked me, ‘Pappy, can I go talk to Ace?.’”

Although an investigation has been opened into the matter, few expect the trooper to be held accountable for shooting a dog outside the wrong home.

“The investigation is going to look at the whole picture, but the biggest point of the investigation is to be looking at whether the use of force was warranted in this situation,” Hicks added.

Unfortunately, even when a dog is unjustly killed on film, law enforcement officers rarely face ramifications.

Last February, an officer in Idaho was cleared after killing a man’s service dog outside a 9-year-old’s birthday party. Dash cam footage of the incident showed the officer antagonizing the dog by kicking it several times before the fatal shots were fired.

In 2012, a police officer in Austin, Texas fatally shot a man’s dog after responding to a domestic disturbance call at the wrong home. Despite the man openly playing Frisbee with his dog on his own front lawn, the officer opened fire at point blank range.

That same year, a Texas cop shot a dog on a family’s front porch, causing the bullet to enter the home. After killing the dog in the front of the house, the officer proceeded to kill a second dog that was tied up in the backyard.