Advertisement
VICE News

San Diego Police Shoot Man's Service Dog Dead After Responding to Domestic Violence Call

Burberry, a six-year-old pit bull who helped its owner Ian Anderson manage anxiety and depression, was shot in the head after approaching an officer outside of Anderson's home.

by VICE News
Mar 19 2015, 5:00pm

Photo via Justice for Burberry/Facebook

VICE News is closely watching policing in America. Check out the Officer Involved blog here.

A California man is devastated after police fatally shot his service dog outside of his home.

Two officers with the San Diego Police Department were responding to a domestic disturbance call early Sunday morning when they knocked on 24-year-old Ian Anderson's door regarding a domestic disturbance call in the area.

The forceful knocking woke Anderson up and excited his 6-year-old pit bull named Burberry, which started barking. When he came to the door, Anderson informed the officers that they had the wrong house. Burberry had meanwhile stopped barking and slipped out the door.

Footage from a surveillance video that was released by Huffington Post shows one of the officers reaching his hand toward the dog after it exits the house. Burberry then runs up to the other officer, who starts backing away. Within seconds, as Burberry follows him, the officer draws his firearm and then, off-screen, shoots the dog in the head.

"[The officer] jumped back, went this way, drew his weapon," Anderson told NBC San Diego. "Boom. Shot right in the head and he was done. He was dead."

"He never hurt anyone in the world, and you shot my dog!" Anderson cries in a videotaken by Anderson's friend right after the shooting. It shows the officer who shot Burberry identify himself as Officer Bennett and refuse to answer why he shot the dog. He tells the weeping Anderson to wait for until a supervisor arrives.

"The officers made several requests for the owner to restrain the dog so they could speak with him regarding the possible domestic violence incident," SDPD Lt. Scott Wahl later said to the press. "As a last resort, the officer used lethal force to protect himself from being bitten."

"We understand the depth of emotion involved in this situation," Wahl continued. "The preservation of life is our top priority and this includes the lives of animals. As this is being investigated as an officer-involved shooting, a thorough investigation is under way to ensure proper procedures were followed."

Burberry helped Anderson cope with the death of his father when he was in high school, and aided his management of anxiety and depression. The registered service dog also assisted children with Down syndrome.

Anderson told reporters that he wants to hold the officer who shot his dog accountable. While the SDPD's investigation is underway, Anderson is asking people to sign a petition that calls for the police force to receive guidance similar to that mandated by the Colorado Dog Protection Act, which requires police in the state to undergo training to avoid the shooting of dogs.

A Facebook page for the pit bull titled "Justice for Burberry" has also been set up, receiving more than 10,000 likes.

"He was the best dog in the entire world," a tearful Anderson told NBC. "I would do anything to have him back right now. Absolutely anything."

Editor's note: The SFPD have noted that the officers involved were directed to Anderson's house by the reporting party, and that they believed they had the right address. As noted in the article, Anderson was asleep when the officers knocked on his door, and he informed them that they had the wrong house because no domestic violence was occurring within his residence.