Officer Says He Shot Family's Dogs After They ‘Charged’ Him – but Surveillance Video Shows Wagging Tails
An officer said he shot two service dogs at a Minneapolis home because they charged at him -- but surveillance footage of the incident appears to contradict his account
Minnesota police are facing backlash after an officer non-fatally shot two emotional support dogs on Saturday, claiming that the animals charged at him — but surveillance footage shared by the dogs’ owner appears to indicate otherwise.
Ciroc and Rocko, both Staffordshire terriers, were in the gated backyard of the family’s Minneapolis home when two officers, responding to a false burglary call, came to the residence, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. One officer hopped the fence to the yard.
“While staging at the rear, two large size pitbulls charged at officer,” one of the responding officers, Michael Mays, wrote in an initial police report. “Officer dispatched the two dogs, causing them to run back into the residence.”
But the dogs’ owner, Jennifer LeMay, uploaded a since-deleted Facebook video that appears to contradict Mays’ account: The video shows one dog, Ciroc, calmly taking several steps in the direction of the officer before the officer appears to shoot the dog, causing him to momentarily fall before scrambling away. A subsequent photo taken of Ciroc shows a wound to his face.
A second dog, Rocko, briefly came into view. The officer is shown firing at the dog before the animal runs away, apparently limping.
“Video surveillance doesn’t lie,” LeMay told the Tribune. The first dog “wasn’t even moving, lunging toward him or anything … My dogs were doing their job on my property.
LeMay and her family were off on a camping trip and had a friend looking after the dogs, according to the Washington Post. LeMay’s two daughters returned home early and accidentally set off the security alarm, prompting the police to show up.
Authorities said in a statement that they are investigating the incident and plan to review the video.
“I’ve watched the video, and as someone whose family has included dogs most of my life, I can say that it was difficult to watch,” Police Chief Jeneé Harteau said in a statement on Monday. “This was an outcome that no one wanted.”
PEOPLE reached out to Mays but did not immediately receive a response.
A GoFundMe page has been created to cover medical bills for the injured dogs.