NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Police are standing behind the decisions made by three of their officers who, they say, found themselves having to open fire on three German Shepherds, unfortunately killing one.
The incident happened just before 7:00 am near Touro Avenue in Gentilly on Aug. 8.
“My heart goes out to the family of course,” said Sgt. James Young, 3rd District. “They lost a part of their family, I just wish it didn’t happen.”
Young was not one of the officers involved, but was called out to the scene. He spoke with Eyewitness News Thursday briefly about what happened since it’s still under investigation.
“Unfortunately, three dogs, three German Shepherds, were loose and running around the neighborhood,” he said. “A citizen called New Orleans Police because the dogs were loose in the area and chasing small children.”
The officers followed protocol and called LASPCA. Young says as the officers waited for agents to arrive, they tried to get the dogs away from the kids. At one point, Young says all three dogs charged the officers.
“Unfortunately, when officers made their approach, the dogs came charging straight out, barking and running full speed. It put the officers in a bad spot," he said. "You have multiple dogs, they’re large in size, they’re fast and they’re moving generally right at the officers barking. So their intent, to the officers, was aggressive.”
According to witnesses, officers fired multiple shots at the dogs. Two of the animals were hit by bullets, killing one. New Orleans Police say it’s an unfortunate and horrible situation that’s weighed heavily on the officers involved.
“This is a nightmare scenario for these officers,” Young said. “They’re not very happy about it at all. They’re dog lovers, they have dogs of their own and if there’s any way from having this be prevented they would want that to happen. I want people to know our officers are people like you are. We love animals, we have animals and we want to protect your animals as well. Our officers have been responsible for picking up several strays off the streets, taking care of wounded animals and bringing them to the SPCA and to the vet. We’ve also reunited a lot of pets with their owners during the night who had no clue they were gone to begin with and that’s what we like to do, reunite animals with their owners.”
On Thursday, the German Shepherd injured in the incident was released from the vet to its owner. A third German Shepherd was not hit.
The investigation into Wednesday’s incident is ongoing.