Chicago Police Superintendent Defends Dog Shooting Cop

Chicago Police Superintendent Defends Dog Shooting Cop
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy commented on the police officer shooting of a puppy. Based on witness accounts, the police should be apologizing for the grief they cause this family and the suffering they've caused to a puppy named Colonel Phillips (who by the way was back in the hospital, after undergoing several hours of surgery and being released).

Instead, in my view, sadly McCarthy made an embarrassing situation, worse for the police - at least from a public relations standpoint.

McCarthy told reporters in a cavalier manner that dogs get shot all the time. And continued, "Unfortunately officers get bit by dogs frequently," McCarthy said. "We don't have to wait to get bit by a dog we don't have to wait to get shot at before we take steps to protect ourselves. We have to shoot dogs frequently in the city. There's a story about last night where we made a robbery arrest and somebody released a pit bull and attacked the officer and had to be shot."

Well, superintendent - first of all, in that story you mention, I believe the dog threatened the officer. When threatened, of course, police should defend themselves. This was not only a puppy (7-months old) but a puppy who was merely standing there wagging his tail, according to all witness accounts. Second, with all those witnesses around, one could have been shot as easily as the puppy.

Maybe, though, police shouldn't be so trigger happy when it comes to dogs in the first place - not only in Chicago, but nationwide. It seems there's no defense for what the police officer did, and, so far, no explanation.

McCarthy had no comment on why two days later police show up - two honchos from the department, asking about all the press attention. When the family defended their decision to go to the press, the police issued a ticket - again two days later - for the puppy being off leash. At the time of the shooting, according to witness accounts, the officer only suggested the owner, Al Phillips pick up his dog. Phillips says he did not hear the officer, who shot twice within seconds after the 'warning.' The officer not only didn't issue a ticket for the dog being off-leash at the time of the incident, but also didn't suggest the owner leash the dog.

And - oh boy - perhaps a pup looking like a pit bull sort of dog (a Miniature Bull Terrier is actually the breed of this pup), may have prompted the trigger happy response. It seems the superintendent made a point of saying in the other incident the dog was a pit bull. By the way, it may well be - as they often are - the dog identified as a pit bull really was not. No matter, if pit bulls are being targeted, that flies in the face of what all dog behavior and veterinary groups agree on - pit bulls, per se, are merely dogs and not inherently born dangerous.

What McCarthy should do, first, investigate the officer, to discern what his "issue" was. Second, apologize to the family. And third, concede Chicago police officers (who mostly do the right thing relative to animals) undergo training to understand canine body language, and that most important - they do not have the right to shoot dogs without due cause.

update: Colonel Phillips is expected to be back home by this evening, and though tired (of course), is doing well.


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  • Garry McCarthy should be ashamed of himself! One would think that the Chief of Police would have the intelligence to do some investigating before shooting off his mouth and making matters worse. I have all the respect in the world for the thankless job most police officers do (several of my close friends are current or former police officers), but I have no respect for those who abuse their power and brutalize the people (and pets) they are charged with protecting. I have even less respect for a police chief and department that then goes out of its way to add insult to injury by persecuting the family they've already unnecessarily injured with the issuance of ridiculous tickets "after the fact" and further suggesting that the officer in question acted properly when, clearly through witness accounts, he did not.

    These are the kinds of ignorant moves that lead to the resignations of police chiefs who seem to forget what their top priority should be ... protecting the public from both criminals AND abuse of power by the officers under his/her command. McCarthy now has two strikes against him ... one for improperly handling the incident to begin with, and two, for making a public statement that clearly shows he has no concept of how serious this issue is and who is to blame.

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    In reply to Planecrazy:

    Well said Brother!
    McCarthy failed to mention that each officer had to pass a "Excessive force test", which basically gave you the guidelines of proper discharge of a weapon by Police officers.
    They ALL carry pepper spray now, and that is to be used as a non lethal method of apprehension.
    Some even have Taser's, which would be the next level of defense.
    As you see, this officer went right to lethal force, without provocation by ALL accounts.., thereby disobeying this use of force guideline.
    He has to prove he was in fear, not just a perceived fear because of the presence of the dog.
    I hope they go after the Dept., and this officer.
    Has he or a spokesperson for the Dept., made any statement to the officers side of the story?
    That will be some creative writing!
    Thankfully the dog survived.

  • Sadly....I must agree - sad because I want to be (as I suspect you do) and historically have been in the same corner as the police, and have worked with them.
    The hope he will ultimately make some sort of apology. And understand that this easy to shoot dogs attitude isn't appropriate, just because they are property. Early on people said, it's because -though a puppy, the dog resembles a pit bull, might be on track.

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    This is a typical response. In every dog shooting I've ever read about, regardless of the circumstances, the officer is exonerated. I've visited websites populated by cops with comment sections full of condemnation of anyone who dares to criticize law enforcement, calling us ungrateful, stupid, or crazy. There is no reason; it's purely black & white thinking.

    As dog owners we have to be aware that the law is not on our side when it comes to our pets. So keep your dogs inside, & have video surveillance, & don't give a cop any reason to come to your house. Because once they are there, your dogs are not safe.

  • In reply to Elle Chan:

    Just for the record, Elle, Mike (who commented above and is a personal friend of mine in addition to being a professional dog trainer) used to be an officer with the C.P.D. Let's not forget that for all the "trigger-happy" cops who sadly don't understand the signals the average dog sends out and react inappropriately, there are those (like Mike was and is) who care about our pets and won't blindly defend the outrageous (and dangerous) behavior of one of their own.

    It's important to direct our anger where it belongs ... at the powers-that-be who have apparently failed to address this very serious issue adequately (if at all). Mike indicated on Facebook that he has approached the C.P.D. several times in an effort to help raise awareness and understanding within the department so that events like this one stop happening, but they've been unresponsive. That's where we come in, by keeping the pressure on and reminding them that doing nothing to correct this problem is unacceptable. If the department won't listen to and/or work with one of their own, we have to step in and impress upon them that his (Mike's) expertise and/or Steve's expertise can only help avoid the repeat of a tragic incident like this one.

    Steve B.

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    In reply to Planecrazy:

    Agreed, & I do think that (slow, but existent) progress is being made with each Cisco or Lennox. However, God forbid any of my dogs become the next Cisco or Lennox. I have home surveillance. I make sure I have safe places to put them away from cops, in as many potential circumstances as I can imagine. I'm terrified that one day I might be forced to call 911, & instead of coming here & arresting an intruder, a cop is going to show up on my doorstep & shoot my dogs.

    That said, I know a whole bunch of cops, including the ones who patrol my neighborhood. A sergeant friend, who's in charge of my area 2pm-11pm, is a dog lover & we've had many discussions about dog murders in the news. At least during his shift I know there is a dog friendly mentality. I do know there are good - in fact, great - officers of the law, who really ARE the good guys. However, I have little faith in PDs, who consider dogs nothing more than property, & dead dogs, whatever the circumstances, nothing more than incidental damage.

  • You aren't going to get anything different from McCarthy, so long as the first police response was "you put this on Fox News, so we'll give you a citation for not having the dog on a leash," so then the owners get on the news and says that we are suing the city for damages to the dog and retaliation.

    After all, the city wasn't willing to settle the Obrycka case until Emanuel wanted to wipe the verdict off the books. And that's dealing with police treatment of humans.

    The owner should have had the dog on a leash, but, given that the response was excessive, probably will win the suit.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes legally, Jack and for the dog's own safety (there was a nearby street) the dog should have been on-leash....but really, this the kind of thing you even ticket for? Maybe, if you are a dog lover, you say put the dog on leash, or if you're really in a bad mood you threaten a ticket. . . It's a puppy for crissakes, and a particularly friendly one by all accounts. As the dog's owner has said, this entire incident is "madness." He's right....Yes, ticket a guy for parking where he's been parking for 30 years (all I know about that I admit is what's been said in the media), and ticket a dog (after the fact) for being off-leash.....meanwhile, as I write this someone in Chicago is likely being shot. Is there something wrong with this picture?

  • In reply to Steve Dale:

    Sure, but as I noted earlier, the city suffered a civil judgment for trying to cover up a beating by a drunk cop that was captured on security camera. Similar case pending in Archer Heights.

    Most police officers take pride in their jobs, but there seems a certain culture of thugs with badges who have even less sense than the person who goes into a Jewel to rob the TCF Bank (I guess that is why it is there), and can't figure out that the security camera will get a clean picture of his face.

    Then, by raising the parking ticket, that supports the implication that the city is out for the money. At least it does not use police officers to enforce the red light cameras, definitely used for the same purpose.

    All of this brings up the issue that the news always says "Internal Affairs is investigating," but you rarely hear the outcome. At least with federal suits you do, although the city wants to cover that up, too. As they said about Watergate, the coverup was worse than any crime.

  • There has to be a whole lot more to this story than what the media is feeding us. Too bad we will probably never know the parts that both sides are hiding. It almost sounds like the result of some kind of long-standing feud between the cop and the dog owner. The cop's extreme reaction just doesn't make sense. The attorneys will make sure there is no apology, or perhaps there will be one of those useless "fake" apologies where no one takes responsibility for the harm. I hope the poor dog recovers. Imagine how terrified he must have been; he runs up to greet someone and they shoot him!

  • In reply to harpercollie:

    It doesn't make are right. Amazing how people come up with stuff...Feud? Apparently, this owner had never met this officer before, how could there be a feud? Also, the dog didn't run up to greet - he was standing there - away from the officer - more than a car length, just wagging his tail. And then he gets shot.

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    I know this dog pretty well. He and the owners sat next to my dog and me in obedience class for 5 weeks. This dog never once barked or acted agressive toward anybody or any other dog. Friendly is an understatement with Col. Colonel makes Snoopy and Odie look vicious. My heart goes out to the poor little guy and his family

  • In reply to Curt Marcucci:

    Curt - pretty interesting - everyone says the same. At some point, I want to meet the dog for myself.

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    In reply to Curt Marcucci:


  • More to come everyone....

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    What a douche bag. Airwolf, Season 2, Episode 1. It is the only solution. We need to terminate all of the mycop in Chichago.
    ” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in a cavalier manner that dogs get shot all the time….We have to shoot dogs frequently in the city… (and often the further have to punish the torn family) …days later police show up … asking about all the press attention. When the family defended their decision to go to the press, the police issued a ticket”

    “What McCarthy should do…(is realize) they do not have the right to shoot dogs without due cause”<- unfortunately they do. The police today are much worse that the mafia ever was. Want to stop the police from murdering our family member, then remember this, Newton’s third law of physics is the only solution. We must stop "Internal Police Investigations" As they always claim "The police officers were justified" when they murder somebody’s family member. We should have citizen reviews as the police are supposed to work for the citizens. We no longer need police in the USA as they are not here to serve and protect our families, but rather use them as target practice, beat us when we exercise our constitutional rights, and generate revenue. It is time the citizens start exercising their second amendment right and defend their families against the real criminals in America, the officers of the police state. Have a dog? Be careful. The police in America want to let you know that they have power and are above the law. In or out of uniform. The police in the USA will shoot your dog, for no reason, because they can and they get enjoyment from killing your family members. Remember, you have to follow the laws, they do not. They have a badge and a gun; the laws do not apply to them. What is the only difference between the police and a mafia? One has a badge. And in “Internal Investigation” is the most pure form of mafia. It is basically getting away with murder and having your brother be the judge and jury.

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