A Wichita Falls Police Officer remains on duty while an investigation is conducted into the fatal shooting of a family’s pet Monday around noon.
The officer said the dog was aggressive toward him but neighbors disagreed.
“I hope he gets what he deserves,” Artemis’ owner Victoria Hitchcock said.
Victoria Hitchcock is upset and hoping for disciplinary action for the fatal shooting of her 11-month-old Great Dane, Artemis.
“It was just completely shocking and shattering to hear when my mom told us what happened,” Hitchcock said.
The on-duty officer had just arrived at his home around lunchtime in the 4300 block of Cunningham when he said he saw two Great Danes growling and barking.
According to police, the officer used animal response training learned through the department to get inside his house without having to use any weapons, he then called animal control.
“They did not respond prior to him leaving to get back in his vehicle,” Wichita Falls Police Department Sgt. Harold McClure said.
A short time after calling animal control, the officer said he saw the dogs approaching a neighbor and he said he was able to help his neighbor get into his car without any trouble from the dogs, however, the neighbor said that was not the case and the dogs were not aggressive at all.
Sgt. McClure said the dogs approached the officer in his driveway and one approached him in a manner that made him feel in danger.
Hitchcock said this account in no way describes her dog.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard her growl, I’ve never seen her act aggressive toward anyone and anything,” Hitchcock said.
Her neighbor who saw the dogs shortly before the incident agreed.
The neighbor said they stood outside and saw both Artemis and Dahlia in their yard and tried to call them over to check their collars and though the dogs barked, they said the dogs did not approach them.
They went back in and within 2 minutes heard shots and saw the officer standing over the dog.
“To hear that someone shot her was insane to me because that’s not something that I would ever expect to happen in my neighborhood especially one street over from an elementary school,” Hitchcock said.
Wichita Falls Police said this case will be reviewed by the officer’s chain of command and office of professional conduct.
That report will be forwarded to the police chief with a recommendation of findings.
Neighbors continue to question why the officer did not use a less than lethal option such as a taser or pepper spray.
Sgt. McClure said when officers feel in danger of their lives or believe they could be injured in an encounter, those options may not be successful, so the use of their primary weapon is usually the best option.
The family that owned the dog filed a complaint on the incident with the police department.
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