Fort Worth

Cleburne police reviewing officer’s shooting of dog

Cleburne police are reviewing an incident involving an officer fatally shooting a pit bull that appeared to be aggressive — an event that was captured on video.

On Aug. 10, police responded to a 911 call from a woman who said that she, along with an elderly woman and a baby, were trapped in their car by several pit bulls.

In a news release issued Friday, two months after the dog was shot, police spokeswoman Kelly Summey said, “The city is obviously concerned about the video showing an officer shooting a dog. As is often the case, the short video does not tell the whole story.”

Summey did not return phone calls late Friday afternoon.

Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said that the video was “bad” and that an internal investigation is underway.

“Obviously, the video is very disturbing, and I am very upset about the video,” he said. “We want to hear the officer’s statement as well as statements from witnesses, but I can assure you that if action needs to be taken, that it will be swift.”

When asked why information was released in October when the shooting took place in August, Cain said, “That is something I would like to know.”

The Cleburne shooting comes on the heels of a recent incident involving Fort Worth Deputy Chief Kenneth Flynn, who faces animal cruelty charges after he shot and killed a German shepherd with his city-issued weapon after the dog killed his cat.

“The officer was using his body camera. The dog was wagging its tail, but we need to look at the dog’s body language,” Cain said.

The officer was responding to the 911 call in the 1500 block of Lindsey Street.

One dog was secured before animal control arrived, and the officer was attempting to secure the two other dogs when one became aggressive.

The officer’s name was blacked out on the report provided by Cleburne police. In his report, the officer wrote that he found a black and white pit bull running in the street and two women sitting in the car.

The officer called to the black and white dog and made kissing noises to calm it. “The dog approached and appeared friendly,” he wrote in his report. “The dog jumped on my chest and licked my face.”

The women said two brown pit bulls at the scene earlier were aggressive, that they were snapping and growling and that one attempted to bite one of the women through the window, the report stated.

Several minutes later, the officer met a neighbor of the dogs’ owner, who said she was asked to put the dogs in the back yard.

The officer then located two brown pit bulls that did not seem to be aggressive, but he described how a brown male came then within 20 feet of him and became aggressive and started growling. He also wrote that the female dog appeared to be nervous and that he made kissing noises to calm the animals.

“I was standing outside the ditch and it [the dog] was in the ditch. I raised my duty weapon to the ready position pointed at the growling dog’s head. As soon as I lifted my pistol, the dog began coming up the hill, continuing to growl and display its teeth. The other dog began backing away. I fired three shots at it. It rolled back into the ditch and died,” the officer wrote.

Police are asking people with knowledge of the incident to contact the department’s professional standards unit at 817-556-8894.

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