A Texas man claims that his beloved dog Cisco was shot point blank by a police officer who responded to a call at the wrong address.
Michael Paxton, 40, said he and his Australian cattle dog Cisco were relaxing and playing Frisbee in his Austin backyard on Saturday afternoon when he decided to go get something from his truck in the driveway.
As he approached his truck, he said he saw something from the corner of his eye and looked up to see a police officer who immediately drew his weapon and told Paxton to put his hands up.
"He had a Taser. He had pepper spray. I don't understand why, in broad daylight, he pulled a gun on me. I wasn't running. I wasn't hiding," Paxton told ABCNews.com today. "I was just saying, 'I live here.' I was panicking. I was afraid for my life."
Paxton said he heard Cisco, who weighed about 50 pounds, barking and coming towards him from the backyard.
"I said, 'Don't shoot him. Don't shoot my dog. He won't bite you.' But he shot him, just like that. It all happened in under 30 seconds," Paxton said. "There was no attack on the officer other than barking and challenging him."
A spokesman for the Austin Police Department did not return repeated calls by ABCNews.com, but confirmed to ABC News' Austin affiliate KVUE that an officer responded to the 2600 block of East 5th Street on Saturday at 4:42 p.m. The call came from the house next door to Paxton.
Police are investigating the incident, according to KVUE.
As a shocked and horrified Paxton stared down at his dog's lifeless body, he said he was confused when the officer started asking him if he had a girlfriend.
"I was saying, 'You just killed my dog. I can't believe you just killed my dog. What is going on?'" Paxton recalled.
Paxton said the officer said he was responding to a domestic issue report of a man choking a woman. Paxton does not have a girlfriend and believes the report came from his neighbor's house.
Paxton said the officer did not apologize and when his sergeant arrived, he was unsympathetic and told Paxton the officer was within his right to shoot the dog. He said he has not heard from the police since the incident.
"I was in shock for probably almost 24 hours," Paxton said, choking up. "I wasn't crying at that point, but when I picked my dog up out of the driveway, I lost it."
Paxton's friends started a Facebook page called "Justice for Cisco" that has nearly 14,000 supporters. Hundreds of people have left messages of support, outrage and anger.
"How heartbreaking and so uncalled for. Tears just fall for the fallen. So very sorry for your lost over a mistaken address," one supporter wrote.
Another wrote: "How dare any officer make a mistake & not apologize? If that were a citizen they would be made to apologize immediately. A life was taken & even though some might look at it only being a dog; it was somebody's pet that they loved dearly."
"The only thing that has brought me comfort is the response and outpouring of emotion for him," Paxton said. "I'm sure he heard the yelling. He's a dog. This is his territory. He's going to be territorial to some extent. To me, it's pretty typical dog behavior. He's not a viscious dog. He was a good boy. He was a real good boy."
- Politics & Government
- Michael Paxton