Ian Anderson, of San Diego, is heartbroken after his 6-year-old service dog, Burberry, was shot and killed by a police officer outside his home in Pacific Beach on Sunday morning.
The beautiful and beloved Pitbull began barking around 5:30 am when the police incorrectly arrived at Anderson’s home for “what appeared to be” a domestic disturbance. The police had reportedly went to the wrong address.
“For six years Ian Anderson raised his beloved dog, it took just one second for a police man’s bullet to kill him,” NBC reporter Omari Fleming lamented.
The police had knocked on Anderson’s door and when Burberry ran outside, the dog stopped barking as one officer reached down and pet him, Anderson says.
Unfortunately, the other officer on the scene had an extreme reaction to the beautiful grey dog who reportedly worked with children with down syndrome, and began yelling at the animal, demanding that he go inside. The dog became startled, and the officer drew his weapon and ended Burberry’s happy life.
“[The officer] jumped back, went this way, drew his weapon,” Anderson told NBC. “Boom. Shot right in the head and he was done. He was dead.”
Anderson laid outside grieving for two hours with the body of his pet, and friend, who had helped him through his anxiety while coping with the loss of his father.
“He was the best dog in the entire world, I would do anything to have him back right now, absolutely anything.” Anderson tearfully explained.
The San Diego Police Department issued a statement which noticeably lacked any sort of apology for the grief and pain they have caused.
“The preservation of life is our top priority and this includes the lives of animals. This incident is currently being investigated as any Officer Involved Shooting would be to assure proper procedures were followed. Any further comments prior to the completion of the investigation would simply be premature.”
A non-profit called Dog Encounter Task Force at San Diego AWOL is devoted to training police officers to safely work with dogs and reduce the number of animals killed by law enforcement. They have stated that they previously reached out and offered their services for free, to no avail.
“There seems to be no question here that this incident did not have to happen. It really makes no difference if this dog was a service dog or not. Our organization has been in conversation with the San Diego Police Department for over 16 months to get them into our TOTALLY FREE Safe Dog Encounter Training. As yet they have not seen the importance of this training for their agency. We stand at the ready to make sure that our officers can safely deal with dog encounters while keeping everyone else safe too – our dogs and innocent bystanders.”
They continued on to say,
“Our experiences tell us that law enforcement is just like everyone else in that when they know better they do better. Within the training of most law enforcement agencies in the country they actually have no safe dog encounter training. For example they are not even trained that the very “command presence” posture they are taught in the academy, for use with humans and works well with mountain lions and bears, is viewed as confrontational and highly threatening by dogs. But without safe dog encounter training they have not learned that part yet. Many are taught in the academy that pepper spray does not work with dogs when it is proven that it does! We teach then how to properly read a dog’s body language and signals in order to accurately the situation and how to use their own body language to negotiate with a dog in order to diffuse a situation. For those situations where actual action is required we teach them no less than 19 non-lethal ways to keep a dog encounter safe for everyone. Does that mean that dogs will never get shot. No it does not and we realize that. We just want to stop the unnecessary dog shootings and we can through the right kind of training.”