Family says DC police fatally shot their pit bull outside of home
WASHINGTON - A Southeast D.C. family is devastated and demanding answers after they say a police officer shot and killed their dog for no reason over the weekend.
"They blew my dog's neck off," said Selina West in tears. "Why did they have to do it like that?"
It all started as a domestic disturbance call Sunday morning as officers responded to the family's 17th Street home. There was a fight between West and her son as she got ready to go to Sunday church service. Her son had called the police.
"I said let me lock the gate because we have got a dog here," West claimed she told officers. "The police did not care, ma'am. There was about five of them."
A police report shows West's son slapped an officer's hand after asking him to step back. West said four officers tackled her son, leaving him bruised and bloody.
But there is no mention of police shooting and killing Phresh, the family's 9-year-old pit bull they have raised since she was a newborn puppy.
"She's never harmed a human," said West's daughter, Sarenity. "She protected us at all costs. If it was to wake us up when a fire was coming or to keep my mom from falling after knee surgery, she didn't have to be killed."
Sarenity's 11-year-old sister watched from the home's steps as Phresh ran down the stairs after hearing the raucous.
"I heard a shot - 'bam' and I froze. Oh my God," Selina described. "It went 'Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!' It never stopped. I said, 'Oh my God,' and by the time I came to the door, they killed my dog and she was lying there, kicking her leg. Just kicking her leg."
Shell casings still lay in the front yard of the home just inches away from where Phresh was shot dead.
D.C. police's general orders addressing animals states police officers "shall seek the cooperation of the owner/custodian in confining the animal so as to eliminate any immediate danger and/or to await the response of an ACA [Animal Control Agency] representative."
"The woman who executed my dog was told three times that I had a dog here and allow me to shut the gate," Selina West said. "The other officer said to her, 'She has a dog. Let's back up.' They did not do that. They bum-rushed my house, tackled my son on the floor. Four officers on top of my son on the floor. The dog never bit [any] one of them."
The dog's owner contends if had she been allowed to shut the front door gate, Phresh would have not run outside and would still be alive.
"She never made it to the gate," said Sarenity West. "How do you fear for your safety when she's bypassed at least six officers. Whose safety do you fear for? Or is it because she is a pit bull that's owned by black owners in an urban community?"
D.C. police told FOX 5 that they are looking into the matter.