NOTE: This article contains a photograph that shows a dog's corpse, and video of police shooting dogs. Although the images do not show graphic injuries, reader discretion is advised.
On Thursday, December 10th at roughly 10AM, officers with the City of Chester Police Department and local animal control killed a one year old dog named Bear. Bear's owner, Chester resident and mom Christie Fry, told Puppycide Database Project that when she confronted police immediately after the shooting, the officers "laughed in [her] face" while telling Fry: "Well you don't have a dog anymore. He's done now!"
According to Ms Fry, Bear was secured in his back yard using a cable leash-line the morning of his shooting. Bear's home was next door to an abandoned home that was the scene of construction from time to time. It wasn't unusual for Bear, still a puppy, to bark at the construction workers next door. So when Christie Fry was awoken by Bear's barking on Thursday, she wasn't worried until his barking was punctuated by gunshots.
"Thank god the kids were at school."
Christie ran outside to confront the shooter, who was among a number of City of Chester Police Department as well as the local animal control. The animal control officer accused Bear of breaking off of his leash line and attacking him, forcing him to wrestle the dog through yard separating Fry's property from the abandoned home next door. But Christie immediately doubted the animal control officer's accusation:
"Bear has dug up most of my yard & the yard next door is a disaster. If this guy was on the ground wrestling with my dog as he claims, that nice fresh khaki jacket he was wearing would have been destroyed. When Bear jumped on me, even once, I'd have pawprints on my clothes. There's just no way!"
Further complicating animal control's narrative was the fact that there was no mention of Bear biting anyone in the associated incident report filed by Chester Police. Christie told PuppycideDB that the Animal Control officer on the scene alleged that Bear had pounced on him, knocking him to the ground and initiating a struggle:
"[The animal control officer] told me, '[Bear] didnt bite me, he knocked me down'"
Why had Bear been shot if all that would have been needed to restrain him was to knock on the door of the home he was in front of?
A photograph of the scene, included below, shows just how close Bear was to his own home when Chester police killed him. Bear's corpse is mere feet away from his dog house. According to Christie, police made no attempt to knock on her door prior to killing Bear.
The scene of the killing, showing police photographing Bear's body
Nearly as shocking as Bear's killing is how Christie alleges police treated her in the immediate aftermath of the incident:
"[...]I hear 2 gunshots. As I'm getting up I hear the third. As soon as I'm standing, I can see out my side window. Police. Fourth shot. I look at what they're doing & see my dog on the ground. My dog starts screaming. I scream. More shots. Five, six, seven, eight. There's 2 cops taking turns shooting him with smiles on their faces. I run out yelling 'What the hell!!!!!' They said 'Is this your dog?'. 'Yes!!', I replied. 'What happened??!!' The officer said (& I quote!!) 'Well you don't have a dog anymore. He's done now!' & laughed in my face."
It remains unclear why the City of Chester Animal Control or Police Department were on the scene to begin with. There have been no allegations that Bear bit or attacked any of his neighbors. Christie believes that the officers may have been looking for another dog, a Brindle Pit Bull, that has been loose in the neighborhood for months and that occasionally showed up in her yard. Christie told Puppycide Database Project investigators:
"If they got a call about a loose dog, it wasn't mine."
This is not the first time that Chester PD has been responsible for the shocking, and possibly reckless and avoidable, killing of a dog.
In 2013, Chester police opened fire on three dogs in front of the local high school, in the process releasing what NBC News called a "hail of bullets" to kill the dogs. The shooting occurred during lunch time on Friday directly in front of Chester High School, leaving students at risk for stray bullets and ricochets. Video of the event appeared on Youtube, and can be seen below:
Fry has started a GoFundMe page in order to raise $3,000 for legal representation. Meanwhile, Puppycide Database Project has requested a statement from the Chester Police Department on the shooting, which has yet to comment on Bear's killing or allegations that the police laughed at Ms. Fry when questioned.
Puppycide Database Project will continue to update this story with further information as it becomes available.
UPDATE 12/15/2015 12:30 PM EST: The City of Chester Police Department is refusing to offer comment on the killing, and now claims that "it is not owned by the Chester Police Department of the City of Chester". It appears that they deleted our request for comment from their Facebook page, instead claiming that the City of Chester Police Department Facebook page is not a place to make "official" requests for statements and that the page is "for the cops by the cops". The page itself is registered as a "Police Station" and a "Government Organization", not a union or benevolent organization.