The Staffordshire terriers are service dogs for two girls.
In an incident that has since gone viral because of the release of security camera footage, two officers are under internal investigation after one of them shot two dogs in the backyard of a home whose security alarm had gone off. The two dogs, which are both Staffordshire terriers and named Ciroc and Rocko, were in the backyard when the officers responded to the burglary alarm by first heading to the back area of the house instead of knocking at the front door first. It was at this point that the officer saw fit to shoot the dogs as they approached him.
Accounts vary on exactly what occurred, but as the owner of the dogs, Jennifer LeMay, said, “video surveillance doesn’t lie.” The family has security cameras, one of which caught the incident, and LeMay posted it on Facebook, where it later went viral. The video shows the two dogs, one of which slowly approaches the officer with his tail wagging as the officer points his gun and shoots the dog. The dog falls to the ground before retreating, at which point the other dog bounds towards the officer and he proceeds to shoot the dog three times. Though the second dog comes at the officer, it seems to be in a joyous manner that was not interpreted the same way by the officer.
“While staging at the rear, two large size pitbulls charged at officer. Officer dispatched the two dogs, causing them to run back into the residence,” the police report reads.
LeMay’s daughters were at home when the alarm went off and the officers arrived because they had returned early from a family camping trip. It was a false alarm that could have had a different outcome if the officers had simply approached from the front. LeMay had already called the security company and had the alarm deactivated within a few minutes of its activation, but the officers showed up anyways. The 18 and 13-year-old daughters reported that the officers didn’t announce their arrival until after they had shot their dogs.
Ciroc and Rocko are service dogs that help LeMay’s daughters with different issues. Rocko helps the eldest daughter with a seizure disorder and Ciroc assists the youngest with anxiety and other mental health issues. At the time of the shooting, Ciroc was shot in the jaw and Rocko was shot in the side, face, and shoulder. The family did not immediately get medical help for the dogs because they were told by the officers that they had to wait for animal control, which never arrived. They were finally able to bring in their wounded canines and, fortunately, both of them survived this horrific event.
LeMay is seeking legal action following this shooting because she claims that Officer Michael Mays lied in his police report to cover up the fact that he shot his gun without good reason. Footage from a police body cam has been obtained but not released by the Minneapolis Police Department, and in the meantime Police Chief Janeé Harteau has said that officers will receive mandatory training on how to handle encounters with dogs. She also said that the police department would help with huge vet bills for the care of these dogs.
“That is a day late and a dollar short,” Michael Padden, the attorney for the LeMay family, said. “At the time the money was needed … with the vet clinic in question to save the dogs, before the dogs would be touched by a veterinarian, almost $4,000 was needed [up front] by the clinic. MPD was nowhere to be found at that point, and Jennifer was specifically told that MPD would pay ‘nothing.’ ”
Thankfully, fellow humans have stepped in where the police department has not by donating to the family’s GoFundMe page for the dogs’ bills. Though the goal was set for $15,000, the family has since raised over $33,000 at the time of this publishing. Donors from around the world have expressed their outrage and support for the family and their pursuit of justice.
Watch the video below to see the footage for yourself.