Owners of shot dog speak out on results of police investigation

Owners of shot dog speak out on results of police investigation

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The owners of the dog that was shot by a Lake Charles Police officer on July 2 on Hodges Street are speaking out following the announcement that the officer will not face disciplinary action.

The Lake Charles Police Department announced in a Tuesday news release that the results of an internal investigation were that the officer did not violate any police department policies, state or federal laws.

Chris Crochet, the dog's owner, said the family expected the outcome.

"But that doesn't mean it's right. Our dog is still dead and nothing has been done about it. This has been very traumatic for us and my mother who watched the officer shoot the dog several times before the dog crawled over to her and died in her arms," Chris Crochet said.

Authorities on Tuesday said that the investigation concluded that the incident happened during a police vehicle pursuit, which subsequently led to a foot pursuit. Authorities say police were pursuing three carjacking suspects, who violently beat the driver moments earlier.

"While trying to apprehend these felons, the pursuing officer, after running several blocks, found himself under the attack of two dogs who had escaped their back yard through an open gate," the release states.

Authorities also say that according to a civilian witness, the now deceased dog "placed its open mouth onto the officer's leg."

"The police officer, without the benefit of time, was unable to transition to a less than lethal weapon, and shot the dog, preventing him from being bitten. The second dog then stopped its pursuit of the officer," the release continues.

However, Chris Crochet's mother, Delores, disputes this. She told 7News that the dog did approach the officer in the yard, but not in a threatening manner.

"I'm not surprised by this. But I can't believe they would say the dog was trying to bite him when that didn't happen. I was right there just a few feet away and that didn't happen," she said. "We are heartbroken over this and while we may eventually get over it, we will never forget this."

Lake Charles authorities say that the incident was investigated by the commander of the Internal Affairs Division.

"During his investigation, and as with any police firearms discharge investigation, Sgt. Shawn Caldwell convened a board of veteran officers with supervisory and training experience who reviewed the case. As part of the investigation, independent witness statements were collected and reviewed," the release states.

Chris believes if it can happen to his family it can happen to anyone. He wants more solid rules in place other than just the officer's discretion.

"I understand the plight of officers in the line of duty. I'm not contesting that this officer had every right during a dog attack to protect himself, but given the size of Monkey and the fact that she was only running towards him that negates the fact that it was an attack," said Chris. "The sad part about this whole thing is that the Lake Charles Police Department has justified the actions of this officer and therefore set a precedent that any officer that comes after him after this day forward can do the same thing and get away with it. It needs to change."

The Crochets plan to file a formal complaint with the Department of Justice. Meanwhile they also plan to move from the area because they no longer feel safe.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.