New York City police shot a dog in the head on Tuesday, reports Gothamist. The pit bull named Star was believed to be protecting her owner as he had a seizure on the sidewalk. When officers came to address the emergency situation, Star ran at them for getting too close to her ailing companion, and they responded by firing a pair of bullets at her.
The gruesome scene attracted a sizeable crowd. Some bystanders cried, while others shouted at the officers for mishandling the situation. More officers arrived on the scene to control the crowd. All the while, Star bled on the street, flopping in pain, while her owner, known to friends as Pollock, lay unconscious on the ground, similarly unattended.
A witness uploaded a video to Youtube that shows how the scene unfolds. Please be aware that the clip is both upsetting and graphic. The video contains footage of Star being shot and writhing in pain.
From the video, it is clear that Star did lunge toward an officer at the time she was shot. Some on the scene thought the gun force, though sad, was appropriate. Witness Johnny Rodriguez said, “It’s a tragedy, but I may have done the same thing that the cop did. If you got a pit bull coming at you, I don’t know if you stand there and get bit or use your gun.”
Obviously, it is a shame to see a dog suffer for being loyal to her companion. Star viewed the officers who were there to help as a threat. However, at least a couple of witnesses told the Daily News that Star’s aggressiveness may have been provoked by how the officers approached Pollock. “Instead of calling the ambulance, they started kicking him,” said Aida Feliciano. “If you kick the dog’s owner, the dog is obviously going to attack,” said Alan Crosby, who also saw the incident.
Furthermore, if the officers’ intention was to remove Star from the situation in order to provide Polluck with medical attention, that does not explain why – as the video shows – he is left on the ground without treatment long after Star was too injured to interfere with any necessary care.
According to friends, Pollock is an elliptic who has seizures semi-regularly. An employee at the adjacent KFC restaurant said Pollock and Star frequented the area, calling them “friendly and harmless.”
Though initial reports suggested that Star had died, the latest news is that she is in serious condition. The medical summary also shows that Star was maced at some point, although it is unclear whether police used the substance on the pit bull before or after shooting her.