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Couple wants changes after APD officer kills their family pet

9:50 PM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
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  • Rodriguez family dog, Jane
  • Rodriguez family Facebook page about police shooting of family dog, Jane
  • Rodriguez family dog, Jane
  • Rodriguez family flyer about police shooting of family dog, Jane
    

ATLANTA -- In their defense, police officers never know what dangers they'll confront when they answer a call.

But an Atlanta couple believes too many of them are too quick to shoot family pets.

"We raised an incredibly obedient and well-mannered dog that didn't deserve to be shot," Matthew Rodriguez told 11 Alive News on Tuesday.

He and his wife, Kelley, claim their 2-year-old dog, Jane, was killed by an Atlanta Police officer for no good reason.

It happened November 10th after an accidental automated 911 call from their Southeast Atlanta home.

Kelley said she talked to a 911 dispatcher to say everything was okay, but then two APD officers showed up at the front door.

"I opened the door and my dogs ran out like they always do and within two seconds a police officer turned and shot her," she told 11 Alive.

She said the 2-year-old lab-pitbull mix, Jane, died before they could get her help.

A second dog, just a puppy, was unhurt.

In his police report, the officer who shot Jane claimed he only fired after the dogs came at him, he injured his knee falling to avoid them, and Kelley refused his repeated calls for her to call off the animals.

She disputes that account, saying the dogs were friendly and the officer fired almost immediately.

She has launched a Facebook page called "Justice for Jane Our Family Dog", that already has more than 1,000 likes.

Kelley said she's linked up with other families who've had similar tragedies, which they claim are all too common.

She wants police officers to receive special training in how to deal with such situations, like Colorado requires.

"We want law enforcement to get training on how to deal with family dogs in non-lethal and non-excessively violent ways," she added.

Atlanta Police sent 11 Alive a written statement that said, in part, "Police officers face difficult circumstances on a daily basis while carrying out their duties, including occasional attacks from dogs that are unleashed or unrestrained by their owners."

It also said the shooting of the Rodriguez family dog, "is currently under investigation by OPS (Office of Professional Standards); if the investigation determines that this was not a justified use of force, the officer will be disciplined in accordance with our policies."

The APD statement added, "The loss of any life, human or animal, is something the Department does not take lightly."

Meanwhile, Kelley and Matthew Rodriguez said they are considering hiring a lawyer for a possible civil suit.

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