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Police chief: Shooting of dog ‘unfortunate’

October 2, 2010

Gloria, an 11-year-old Labrador Retriever, is seen in an photo at the Hallock family home in Oakland. Gloria was shot and killed on Tuesday by Oakland police who were responding to a burglar alarm at the house. Photo courtesy of Mary Kate Hallock

From SFGate
By Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said Friday that the fatal shooting of a family dog by an officer investigating a burglar alarm was “unfortunate” and that the department would be investigating the incident, the second police killing of an animal in five months.

Gloria, an 11-year-old arthritic yellow Labrador owned by Ward and Mary Kate Hallock since she was a puppy, was shot dead Tuesday after it advanced on an officer “in a threatening manner,” police said.

The officer, identified by sources as Victor Garcia, shot Gloria three times with his .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic handgun after the dog came out through an open rear door of the Hallocks’ home on Burgos Avenue in the Knowland Park neighborhood in the Oakland hills.

Garcia told investigators that “the dog was growling and closing the gap between them as the officer was retreating backward,” police said in a statement Friday. “As the dog continued to advance, the officer discharged his firearm, killing the dog.”

Garcia has not been placed on leave pending an investigation into the incident, police said.

The shooting outraged the Hallocks and their two children. While acknowledging that Gloria was known to bark and be protective, they said police did not have to use deadly force and could have used a Taser or pepper spray, or even thrown the dog some food to calm her down.

In a statement Friday, Batts said, “It is an unfortunate incident when you have a family pet protecting its home and officers responding to protect the property. The end result is not something we wanted, and my heart goes out to the family who has lost their dog.

“We are investigating the incident to ensure that proper policies and procedures were followed and evaluating possible ways to improve outcomes related to future contacts with animals,” the chief said.

Batts’ comments echoed remarks he made after an officer shot and killed a young deer in an East Oakland backyard May 1.

The officer who killed the deer has been disciplined, and Sgt. Terrance West, who ordered that the deer be shot, has been demoted to officer, source said.

West was demoted after an internal investigation determined that the shooting, which was caught on videotape, was not in accordance with department policy, the sources said.

Ward Hallock said Friday that he was heartened by Batts’ statement about Gloria’s killing.

“I’m sincerely glad to hear him speak in that tone,” he said. “A lot of law enforcement folks can’t do that; they’re more of a command tone than what he (Batts) portrayed there.”

Hallock said he also appreciated getting a call from Sgt. Randy Brandwood, the patrol supervisor at the time of the incident.

“He was quite contrite,” Hallock said. “He’s a dog owner himself.”

Hallock said he wants to sit on some kind of citizen review board that would look at policies for how officers should deal with house pets and other animals.

“Some people are afraid of dogs,” he said. “A dog can rush and it can be misinterpreted on both sides of the fence.”

He added, “I’m not out to get them (the city or police) or cause them any financial harm. I just want to do what I can as a citizen, to offer my services to volunteer on a board, to help develop policy that will reduce, if not eliminate, this kind of incident.”

Additional information, audio, click on arrow:

Related, Oakland police criticized for shooting deer
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Deer killed in May

Answering alarm, Oakland police kill family dog

In May, police shot a deer that had leapt over a fence into a backyard on the 1700 block of 90th Avenue in East Oakland. When the deer did not die right away, police continued to fire at the animal.

The incident was captured on video by a neighbor and ignited a furor from residents and wildlife advocates.

After that shooting, Batts expressed his disappointment: “I’m unhappy with the results of this incident. I do not like what I saw.”

“We are reviewing our policies and our procedures surrounding this incident to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” he added.

He was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Related Animal Law & Legal Center: Police-Involved Shooting of Pets

Related, cruelty laws


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Roxanne Allard permalink
    October 2, 2010 3:12 pm

    I guess his terminology of “unfortunate” and mine of “murder” are somewhat in disagreement. Two “unfortunate” incidents….hope a child or person is not the victim of the next one!


  2. Disgusted to be Human permalink
    October 2, 2010 6:00 pm

    Oh yeah arthritic dogs are very threatening – NOT. I hope the officer is sacked at the very least, the police are getting far too gun happy and many seem to feel it makes them a man to shoot some poor defenseless animal! As Roxanne said lets hope their next victim is not a child!


  3. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    October 3, 2010 6:06 am

    there is nothing more infuriating than when the lives of innocents are robbed by those in power. those we trust to protect us, our families, and our pets…and they, not our pets, turn!!!!

    11 year arthritic family pets were not put on this earth to have bullets lodged into their bodies. frightened deer are not here for police target practice.

    what is obvious the the corruption of power, in the small-minded, results in death and heartbreak.


  4. BBorne permalink
    October 3, 2010 12:15 pm

    Stuff like this makes police officers either look like bumbling idiots or people on a power trip.

    I would certainly think twice about having a partner like this on patrol with me – He/She either has remarkably poor judgment, or is afraid of his own shadow. In any case he needs to be taken off the front-line and reassigned to a position less critical to the public good. He’s if not a menace to his fellow officers, he’s certainly a menace to public perception of police officers everywhere.


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