New Orleans, LA — Since Saturday night, Derek Brown and Julie-Barecki Brown have been mourning the loss of their 18-week-old puppy named Apollo. Apollo didn’t die from being hit by a car or from medical complications, however, his life was taken from him by a member of New Orleans’ finest.
The couple told 4WWL they had gotten in a verbal argument the night a New Orleans police officer entered their yard and killed their puppy.
“Married couples do that,” Derek Brown said of the argument, adding that it shouldn’t have warranted a police response,” We weren’t drawing guns.”
Julie told the outlet she heard her gate open and just seconds later, she heard three gunshots. The couple’s puppy would be killed instantly.
“I ran out here, and the puppy was right there, writhing,” Brown said. “I feel responsible. It’s my job to protect that little guy.”
Two months before he was killed by police, the couple adopted their puppy from Marcus Gandy who fosters dogs who need a home.
“I have his brother here with me. They’re both small enough to carry under your arm,” Gandy said.
“Apollo and his mother arrived the day after the rest of the litter at the Trampled Rose Rescue & Rehab on the Northshore,” the program’s founder Holly Williams said.
“We actually took his mother and her 9 puppies into our rescue the day after they were born, Mama dog was so skinny you couldn’t tell she was pregnant,” Williams said. “Then popped out 9 incredibly tiny babies. Miraculously and thanks to the expert care of our vet, all of the puppies survived.”
“He was not at all a threat,” a friend of the couple, Jennifer Lee said. “He couldn’t even bark.”
“He’s the kind of dog that if he jumped on you, you wouldn’t even feel it,” Gandy said. “They killed a puppy.”
According to the couple, they had two dogs in the backyard and Apollo was the smallest as he was just a puppy. Their other dog weighs 65 pounds but apparently the officer felt more threatened by the harmless 18-week old puppy.
After police killed their puppy, they stayed at the couple’s home for four hours. Though police didn’t identify the officer who shot Apollo, Derek says it was easy to pick him out.
“It was obvious who the cop was that shot him because he was pretty distraught,” said Derek Brown, his voice breaking. “All he said was, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.'”
Eventually, police left and took Apollo’s remains with them to conduct an investigation into the shooting. The couple has asked to get his ashes back when the investigation is complete.
“I know cops don’t have an easy job, they’re walking into crazy stuff all the time,” Derek Brown said. “But it sucks being on the receiving end of it.”
Indeed it does.
As TFTP has reported, 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 do 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.
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 could be upwards of 500 dogs a day
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 who think cops killing dogs is not a problem, we encourage you to take a look through our puppycide archives here.