Shooting Star: NYC police fire away at pit bull; Could this have been handled differently?
This video — and we warn that you might not want to watch it — shows New York City police shooting a pit bull that was seemingly trying to protect her owner, who was in the midst of a seizure.
It was an act that enraged many onlookers when it happened — on Aug. 13 – and many more in the week since the video was posted on the Internet.
Most early reports about the incident were sketchy, and the facts — even 10 days later — still don’t seem to have fully come out. Other than these:
Lech Stankiewicz apparently suffered a seizure and ended up halfway on the sidewalk, halfway on the street. His dog Star stood by him.
As can be seen at the beginning of the video, a female bystander, apparently wanting to offer some assistance to the man, gets too close and is chased off by the dog. The dog then turns around and runs toward a police officer — one of at least two on the scene by then, both of whom had their guns drawn.
The first officer shoots the dog, and it appears the second one fires as well, leaving Star whimpering and writhing on the street.
The nine long minutes that follow are almost equally disturbing. No one goes to the aid of the dog, no one goes to the aid of the man, and police, whose numbers have swelled by then, seem concerned only with crowd control as both man and dog lay in the street.
Some websites were quick to report that Star had been “murdered” by police — like this outraged account on Gather.com – but she’s still alive.
Star was taken to Animal Care and Control (ACC) of NYC, but that organization saw fit, at least initially, to release no information.
The Lexus Project, which provides legal defense for dogs it thinks are being treated unfairly and is looking into the case, released a statement, but it didn’t say much either:
“We know that so many of you are concerned, worried and outraged about Star. This is an update and although I know you want more but please respect this is all we are permitted to say at this time. Star is very much alive and receiving medical care and holding her own. We will update as soon as we are permitted to. Thank you for your support and understanding.”
The video appeared on the Gothamist website and subsequently has been shown on many others.
Not to jump to too large a conclusion, but watching the video — and the inaction of authorities, other than shooting Star — suggests to me that police may need more training for dealing with dogs, not to mention dealing with epileptic seizures.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal care and control, animal control, animals, control, crowd, dog, dogs, epilepsy, law enforcement, Lech Stankiewicz, lexus project, new york, new york city, nyc, pets, pit bull, pitbull, police, seizure, shoot, shooting, shot, sidewalk, star, street, training, video