A burglar did not violate Mary Kate Hallock’s house in Oakland, Ca. on Sept. 28, but the false alarm at her home led to the death of her dog. In Hallock’s back yard, Oakland Police officer Victor Garcia shot and killed Hallock’s 11-year-old golden Lab.
According to the note left for owner Hallock on the front door, her dog Gloria was shot after she “advanced on officers in a threatening manner.”
Really? Gloria, whom Hallock had raised from a puppy, was arthritic and suffered from hip dysplasia.
And then there’s the matter of three bullets. So one bullet wouldn’t have stopped an “advancing” elderly golden Lab, a breed known for its sweet disposition? There’s a video.
Some residents wonder why Garcia didn’t use pepper spray instead of bullets from a 40-caliber Glock. The police countered that their guns were drawn in anticipation of a home intruder. Police said that Gloria “growled and barked at them.”
You could argue that split-second decisions made by members of the Thin Blue Line will sometimes be, in retrospect, a bad choice. But officer Garcia was no nervous-nellie rookie. He’d been with the Oakland Police for ten years.
And then there’s what happened in another Oakland back yard five months ago. A fawn — posing no threat to anyone or anything — was ordered shot by Sgt. Terrance West. As with Hallock’s dog, the deer was shot multiple times, and died. This incident was caught on video, and infuriated Oakland residents. Sgt. West was ultimately demoted.
Police Chief Anthony Batts says the killing of Hallock’s dog is being investigated to “ensure that proper policies and procedures were followed and evaluating possible ways to improve outcomes related to future contacts with animals.”
That would be a good idea. It would be a good idea for every police department and training academy in the country to do likewise. Last February in Columbia, Mo., a SWAT team raided a home and killed the family dog in the presence of a young child. In all, seven shots were fired. The shooting was recorded on video, now posted on the Internet. The dog owner, Jonathan Whitworth, is suing the city.
Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton says the issues raised by the February shooting have been addressed. “We have fixed those things . . . The public can be assured that a similar incident will not happen again without someone’s head rolling because it’s now policy.”
Former Oakland resident Julie Rose suggested that as penance for “shooting someone’s 11-year -old, arthritic dog who was most likely protecting her home, Mr. Garcia should be relocated to Oakland Animal Services, where he’d be required to clean up after abandoned dogs, and to walk them.”
Rose, along with other Californians commenting on Gloria’s death, worry about trigger-happy police, and what that could mean to the human residents of Oakland as well as the animals.
[originally published by Politics Daily in 2011]