The 6-year-old’s mother, Nicole Echlin, said their shepherd-mix Apollo had returned to the property in Hometown, a suburb of Chicago, after briefly going missing on Friday afternoon but that police arrived soon afterwards with guns drawn.
“He started showing his teeth — that’s when the officer shot him,” said Echlin, adding that her daughter immediately fell to the ground and began screaming.
Neighbor and witness Ayo Nicco Torres said that the dog had no history of aggression and wasn’t barking when police arrived.
“The dog wasn’t dead, he was kicking its legs like it was trying to run while he was laying on the lawn. Ten minutes later still laying there breathing. Sickest thing I’ve ever seen… In my opinion it just wasn’t necessary,” said Torres.
The pet was rushed to an animal welfare hospital but died from its injuries on Saturday morning. Hometown Police announced that they were investigating the incident but refused to comment.
“I don’t know why they would pull out a gun they had so many other options,” said Echlin’s sister Kristy Scialabba. “And to shoot a dog in front of a child that’s going to scare her for the rest of her life.”
The family has set up a Facebook page called ‘Justice For Apollo’ in response to the tragic incident.
Meanwhile in a separate incident, a German Shepherd in DeKalb County, Ga. was shot in the throat by cops who were responding to an emergency call.
The dog’s owner Tim Theall said police prevented him from aiding the dog after it was shot, citing the need to take pictures of the bleeding pet.
“The dog was still alive, clearly bleeding like crazy and the police officer blocked my exit,” Theall told NBC Atlanta. “Finally he convinced me that I would be thrown in jail if I didn’t just stay where I was.”
Theall has started a GoFundMe page to take donations to cover his dog Doctor’s medical expenses.
Previous examples of police across the United States gunning down dogs and other pets for no apparent reason whatsoever are too numerous to list, but cases have exploded over the last five years in line with police brutality in general.
The core question remains — why are cops shooting dogs on a whim? Are they being trained to do so or is this just a consequence of police being told by their superiors that the American people are an enemy to be combated rather than protected from real criminals?