Officer responding to wrong address for domestic call shoots man's pet
POSTED: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 4:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — An Austin, Texas man is mourning the loss of his dog after a police officer mistakenly showed up on his property for a domestic disturbance call.
The officer shot and killed the dog because he felt threatened while responding to the call, which was actually happening next door.
"I never got an explanation why this mistake was made," said Michael Paxton.
Paxton and his dog, Cisco, an Australian cattle dog, were playing in his backyard on Saturday afternoon.
Paxton said he walked around to his truck to get something when he saw Officer Thomas Griffin.
According to Paxton, the officer drew his gun and pointed it at Paxton while telling him to put his hands up, but would not tell him why.
Hearing the commotion, Cisco ran to where Paxton and the officer were standing and began barking at the officer.
Dashcam video caught the verbal exchange between Paxton and Griffin which took place entirely on Paxton's property.
The officer can be heard yelling "Get your hands up" and "Get your dog" just seconds before a gunshot rings out. Paxton then pleads with the officer and asks why his dog was shot.
At that time, the officer explained he had been dispatched to a domestic disturbance call in the neighborhood.
Paxton, who was home alone with his dog, said the officer had the wrong house and was supposed to respond to his neighbor's home.
Austin police said the caller who phoned in the domestic disturbance gave the wrong address, and they apologized to Paxton for the mix-up and the death of his dog.
"Griffin is distraught about this," said Sgt. David Daniels.
Police officials said there is an internal review every time an officer's firearm is discharged.
Griffin is still on duty, and APD would not answer questions about why a firearm was used instead of a stun gun.
"We are not going to second-guess our officer," said Daniels, who said officers can use force when they feel physically threatened by an animal.
Paxton said Cisco has never bitten anyone and would not have attacked the officer despite the barking.
"He shows that behavior, then he sniffs you and wants to be scratched," Paxton explained.
Paxton and friends have already set up a Facebook page that has more than 43,000 likes.
However, he discouraged negative comments towards the officer.
"I can't bring my dog back, but I want something positive to come out of this," he said.