An Austin, TX man is mourning the loss of his dog, Cisco, after police mistakenly responded to a domestic disturbance call. The public has been outraged at the responding policeman's actions, given that he was not supposed to be on the man's property in the first place.
Austin police responded to a domestic disturbance call at the wrong address, said Michael Paxton, Cisco's owner. The dispute was actually right next door, but an unfortunate series of events led to the death of Cisco. When officer Thomas Griffin arrived on Paxton's doorstep, he immediately drew his gun and kept it focused on Paxton, he told KXAN.
Cisco, upon hearing the commotion, began barking at officer Griffin. He could be heard yelling at Paxton, "Get your hands up" and "Get your dog" by the officer's dashcam video. A shot then rang out and Cisco was left dead, Paxton left asking the officer why.
Austin police have apologized to Paxton for the mix-up and shooting, but there is nothing that can be done to bring Cisco back. Although the shooting is being investigated, Griffin remains on active duty.
"We are not going to second-guess our officer," Sgt. David Daniels told KXAN. "He is distraught about this."
In the aftermath of the shooting, Paxton has set up a Facebook page entitled Justice for Cisco in order to raise awareness of animal-related shootings. It has over 90,000 "likes" so far and is sparking intense debate and petitions calling for officers to be educated about animal safety.
Chief Art Acevedo and Paxton appeared on the Texas radio morning show "Dudley and Bob Morning Show" to discuss the incident.
"I want to say I am sorry on behalf of all the members of the department," Acevedo said. "Believe it or not, we are animal lovers just like anyone else."
This is not the first time the Austin PD has killed an innocent animal, and Texans are hoping that this second shooting will push them to enact policy change. In 2000, an officer responding to a home alarm shot and killed an Australian Sheppard mix named "Tawny."
"We thought through our efforts that it wouldn't happen again. Unfortunately, in seeing what happened to Michael and Cisco, it just reminded us that despite our efforts it did happen again," Christi Davis O'Brien told reporters. Tawny was her dog, and her death led the O'Brien family to petition for change.
"We were told there would be a class developed that all cadets would take on how to deal with domestic animals when they reported to a home. And that class would also be offered to officers as part of the continuing education they receive every year," O'Brien added.
"It's disheartening to see that not only the policy's not continued, but it's likely it was never even implemented," she said.