Police claim self-defense in dog shooting; owner demands answers

JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A dog on the loose was shot dead by police, but the owner said the shooting was uncalled for and is demanding answers.

Cassondra Davis has lived on South Chase Street in Johnstown for most of her life. She said she’s never seen anything like what happened late Monday evening.

Police arrived to a home across the street.

“I see the cops come up to the front door,” she said. “I saw the dog come over and I thought, ‘Okay, maybe it’s the dog at this house.’”

Davis said the dog was barking but did not seem to a threat. It was later identified as 6-year-old Sasha.

“She didn’t seem aggressive,” Davis said. “She wasn’t showing any signs of violence. Nothing.”

Davis said a Johnstown police officer began walking across the street, and the dog followed. What happened next shocked her.

“Like five seconds – like that – and she was on the ground, and I heard a gunshot,” Davis recalled.

The dog had been shot and killed. In a video Davis took on her cellphone, the officers are putting a blanket over what appears to be the animal.

“It was traumatizing to see that,” Davis said. “It was very traumatizing.”

The owner of the dog wasn’t home at the time, but she came as soon as she got the news. She didn’t want to be identified, but she said the shooting was unjust.

“We raised her like a family member,” she said. “She was loved like a family member.”

Police were not able to comment Tuesday night but provided a summary of what happened to NEWS10 ABC.

According to the summary, the officer arrived to South Chase Street because another neighbor claimed the dog was on the loose. The caller believed the dog was dangerous and had even chased a kid.

In the report, the officer said he bumped into his car and stumbled. As he did, the dog “continued charging at me and was now right at my feet.”

Believing the dog to be a threat, the officer shot the dog. For him, it was an act of self-defense, but the dog’s owner said she doesn’t buy it.

“She was defending her home; she was scared; she didn’t know what was going on,” the owner said. “Show me where she bit you. You show me the attack.”

For now, the owner of the dog is being ticketed for having her dog on the loose.

Police said it is an open investigation.