El Monte family outraged over police shooting of pet German shepherd (Video)


EL MONTE — A family expressed outrage Friday after an El Monte police officer shot their pet 2-year-old German shepherd inside their fenced-in front yard while following up on a report of a runaway teenager. The family was forced to put the dog down following the shooting.
In an encounter recorded by a home security camera shortly after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, two police officers arrived at the home of Cathy Luu, her husband Chi Nguyen and their children in the 4700 block of Maxson Road.
“I’m hurt that they would do this to my pet, but at the same time I’m angry because they act like they don’t even care. They didn’t apologize,” Luu said through a Vietnamese translator.
Police and the family gave conflicting reports of the events leading up to the shooting.
Police said the officers shook the gate and otherwise took care to check if there were dogs present in the yard before opening the gate and entering. But a video captured by the family’s home security camera appears to support Luu’s claim that the officers simply parked their patrol car and entered the yard without checking for dogs, despite two posted “beware of dog” signs, including one mounted to the gate itself.
After being shot, the wounded dog ran to the backyard of the home. It was later euthanized at a veterinary hospital.
The loss of the female German shepherd, named Kiki, devastated the family, Luu said, especially the couple’s 11-year-old son.
“She was his baby,” the mother son. “He cried all night. He still cries.”
In addition to the death of the dog, family members said they were concerned about the safety of an officer firing a gun in a neighborhood crowded with children.
There were four children present at the home when the shooting occurred, and a children’s pool party was taking place in a front yard across the street, according to the family and the video.
“What if my son ran outside behind the dog?” Luu said. “When I think about it, it’s scary.”
El Monte police Capt. Dan Buehler said the officers had an appointment to meet with Luu and Nguyen about 3:30 p.m., but were delayed and ended up arriving about 4:30 p.m.
“They did go up to the front (gate),” the captain said. “There was a beware of dog sign on the gate. They did what we always do as police officers. They shook the gate. They didn’t see any dogs.”
“They looked for any signs of dogs — chew toys, dog mess, what have you,” Buehler said, adding that they entered the yard after not seeing anything indicating a dog was present.
“They walked up to the porch. They rang the doorbell. They knocked on the door. That’s when the first dog came around the house,” he said.
One of the officers is seen on the video petting the pit bull before returning to the gate, which had been left open by the officers, and closing it. The male officer was outside the closed gate when the second officer, a female, was confronted by the German shepherd.
“Then the German shepherd came from behind the house,” Buehler said. “The German shepherd came up. It was much more aggressive than the pit bull. It was growling, it was barking.”
The (female) officer remained on the porch and continued knocking on the front door with her foot as the German shepherd charged toward her, he said.
“As the dog got to about three feet of this officer, this officer had no other choice than to fire a round,” Buehler said.
The dog was struck in the side.
The video, however, depicts the officers walking up to the gate, opening it and entering, seemingly without breaking stride…


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