OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – A witness says an officer who killed a family's dog took joy in putting the dog down. Now there's an effort to call attention to the incident, which police say was justified.
Police say they received several calls about an aggressive dog near a park. The owner knows pit bulls have a bad reputation. One study says they're responsible for 60 percent of all fatal dog attacks. But she says her pet wouldn't hurt anyone, and wants accountability for the officer's actions.
"A great dog. Never aggressive. Just territorial in her own yard, like any other dog would be," said Sarah Brown.
In an Ardmore neighborhood full of barking dogs, Sarah admits her 2-year-old pit bull, Cali, would often jump over her backyard fence and roam the streets.
But last Wednesday, after Cali jumped out again, the dog was eventually shot and killed by an Ardmore police officer in a neighbor's yard. When Sarah arrived to the scene, she says she wasn't given an explanation.
"I cried so much and just began to figure out what needed to be done because I knew this totally unjust," said Sarah.
A witness to the shooting wasn't available Monday, but documented their version of what happened in a letter.
"He turned to the Animal Control officer and said did you see the way her collar flew into the air when I blew her head off? That was awesome. And laughed," said Sarah.
Cpt. Eric Hamblin says Animal Control tried several times to corral the pit bull, because it was being aggressive and was a danger to people at a nearby park. When that didn't work, Hamblin says the officer followed protocol and shot the pit bull to protect the public.
"I don't think it's prudent and I don't think it's wise for the police department to wait until a dog acting aggressively actually bites somebody," said Hamblin.
But many people are convinced the officer abused his power. A Facebook campaign has been started, as well as an online petition that calls for the officer's firing.
"Unfortunately it's one of the aspects of our job that none of us like, but it's sometimes what we have to do," said Hamblin.
"Cali was family, and it's not funny," said Sarah.
Hamblin says that officer has received death threats, since last week. He wonders what the public's response would be if they had done nothing and the pit bull attacked a child.
KFOR-TV told the officer is still working, pending the investigation. And police urge the public to keep their dogs in their yard.
The district attorney is reviewing this case.