Police shooting of dog sparks protest in Oregon

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The shooting of a dog that escaped its yard sparked a protest at the Springfield Police Department, with demonstrators saying the officer could have stopped the pit bull named Kiki without a gun.

“It’s very bad that they would shoot our pets. They’re our family members,” said Ellen Como of Eugene, one of the more than 30 people who protested late Thursday afternoon. “I have a pit bull. She’s so friendly and loves children. This is just ridiculous. They can’t just keep shooting our pets.”

The dog survived and has a bullet in her shoulder, The Register-Guard newspaper reported.

The newspaper said Kiki’s owner, Breonna Kerr, showed up at the protest in which people held up signs that read “Stop bullying my breed,” “Catchpoles, not pistols” and “Justice for Kiki.” She said veterinarians advised against removing the bullet, at least for now. She appeared touched when supporters presented her with a condolence card.

Springfield police, meanwhile, said the incident is being reviewed. Police officials have not identified the officer who shot the dog.

According to police, Kiki acted aggressively after escaping her backyard Tuesday night, and cornered a 12-year-old boy.

“A citizen was driving down the road, saw this happening, and it looked like the dog was about to attack so they started honking the horn,” said Sgt. Russ Boring said. “The driver put the car between the boy and the dog and got the boy to get in the car.”

A 72-year-old man reported that the dog charged at him. The man threatened to shoot the animal himself before it got distracted by two bicyclists, police said. The dog chased the bicyclists, but they got away.

According to police, neighbors told the responding officer where the dog presumably lived. When the officer tried to go there to contact the owner, the dog charged at him. The officer retreated, but the dog continued until the officer fired one round, police said. The injured dog ran into a yard and was later controlled.

Boring said Kiki’s owner may be issued a citation. Possible offenses could include having a dog at large or violating the city’s vicious dog ordinance.