Another innocent life was taken by those meant to protect and serve. On Thursday, Oct. 19, a police officer fatally shot a dog during a family dispute call. The call came from Tyler Avenue Southeast in Canton, Ohio. As a result, a Cane Corso named Bella was shot three times before she ran inside her house and eventually died of the injuries she sustained.
Canton police officer shoots dog in front of family
As per WKYC, the incident took place after dispatch received a 911 call. The caller told the cops that if they didn’t come, he would be “calling the coroner.” While the identity of the caller is unclear, the dispute involved him and a female homeowner.
While the dispatcher tried to calm the caller down, the cops arrived at the location around 9:45 p.m., where they met Amanda Bulick, the owner of the house. Bulick was accompanied by Bella and her two children. A police officer repeatedly told her to “get the dog inside.” However, when Bella went towards the officers approaching the property, they fatally shot her. In fact, the officer discharged his service weapon to fire three shots. The police report filed after the incident claimed that, at this point, the dog “began bleeding profusely” before she re-entered the home. The report further alleges that the officers “attempted to save her life” before the dog succumbed to her injuries.
Bodycam footage from when the Canton police officer shoots the Cane Corso dog has since been released. It is both graphic and disturbing in nature.
Neighbor claims police have been to the house several times in the past
As per the WKYC report, 3News tried to get in contact with Bulick after the shooting and spoke to one of her neighbors when they couldn’t reach her. A neighbor told the outlet that the dog would “bark, but not bite.” They further shared that the police had been to Bulick’s house before. As such, law enforcement officers should have been well aware that the Cane Corso was on the property. In addition, they claimed that the dog — who weighed more than 100 pounds — was confined to the yard by an electric fence.
As per Fox-8, Bulick called the incident “devastating” and humiliating. She said that the police officer shooting her dog was unnecessary. Bulick further pointed out that her children were in the front yard when the shooting took place. Commenting on the incident, the woman said, “It’s just unacceptable. You can’t be firing your gun with kids around.”
Canton Police Department issues statement following fatal shooting of dog
Canton Police Chief John Gabbard provided a statement about the incident to WKYC. The Chief began with the standard line, “We take the discharge of firearms by our officers very seriously.” Continuing, he shared that he personally viewed the footage, even going so far as to say he “find[s] it heartbreaking.” He further described this as being one of the “difficult situations” that “are inherent in the nature of police work.” As such, Chief Gabbard claimed that incidents such as the one on Tyler Avenue Southeast are “devastating to everyone involved, including the officers.”
In a separate statement shared by Fox-8, Gabbard elaborated on what he described as the unpredictable nature of policing. Canton’s chief of police said, “officers frequently have to respond to…volatile situations and address threats.” He seemingly suggested that the method by which officers address such incidents should be done in a way to “preserve public safety.”
The case is currently being reviewed by the Office of Professional Standards. At this time, the officer in question is still on active duty.
Cane Corso’s death adds to a larger pattern of dogs killed by on-duty police officers
Bella’s death is, rather unfortunately, another addition to the long list of preventable dog deaths caused at the hands of the police. The United States Department of Justice estimates that members of law enforcement are responsible for up to 30 dog deaths daily.
Those whose pets have been at the receiving end of the pain caused by the police can reach out to the Animal Legal Defense Fund to take the appropriate actions.