Tag: don davis
By his account — which varies wildly from that provided by police – Davis, who is homeless, was walking down Market Street before midnight with Bustaah on a leash.
When they passed a group of about five police officers, Davis said, Bustaah barked at one of them. One of the officers pulled his gun and shot the dog, according to Davis.
Police say officers responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting an unconscious man with a dog “not letting anyone get near him.” They say they found Davis drunk and passed out. Fire Rescue was called for Davis. The animal control department was notifed, but before they arrived Bustaah lunged at a police officer, who shot him, said police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers.
Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky, in a piece that ran today, puts more credence in the police version, but he noted that, either way, the homeless man’s dog will be missed by many.
Davis, a 53-year-old Montana native, has been hanging out with Bustaah for about a year at the City Hall Coffee House, on South Penn Square.
After a year crossing the country in his camper with Bustaah, looking for work, he’d landed in Atlantic City, where he worked as a house painter. When work dried up in winter, he was driven to Philadelphia by an Atlantic City police officer, who also gave Davis $20 and a bag of groceries.
In Philly, coffee-shop manager Cosimo Tricarico allowed Davis to hang out with Bustaah, and the two quickly became a fixture in Center City.
Bustaah, described as 3 1/2-year-old, 75-pound Rhodesian blue seal, attracted dog-lovers who stopped to pet him. “Everybody loved him,” says Tricarico, who fed Bustaah meatballs. “He was the best dog ever.”
“Before long, Davis had a cadre of sidewalk supporters, mostly white-collar professionals who work in the buildings around the coffee shop. Bustaah’s Buddies started helping Davis in various ways, like creating a resume for him and giving him a cellphone. They say he refused cash, but accepted food he would share with other homeless people or with Bustaah.”
Friends of Bustaah say he was friendly, but would show a protective instinct if a stranger approached too fast.
Davis describes the shooting as all but unprovoked, and he says he was beaten by police, handcuffed, and released the next morning missing a cellphone and $650 he had in his pocket.
“Bustaah touched our lives, made our days brighter,” lawyer Elissa Katz said. “What happened is simply terrible — a beautiful, wonderful dog has been killed.”
(Photo: Bustaah’s body in a van / via Philadelphia Daily News)