White Woman Who Called Cops on Black Birdwatcher Asking Her to Leash Her Dog Gets Pet Back

Amy Cooper "voluntarily surrendered" the dog to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue after the incident sparked outrage

Amy Cooper
Amy Cooper. Photo: Christian Cooper/Facebook

Amy Cooper, the white woman who called police on a black bird watcher who had asked her to leash her dog in a section of New York City's Central Park, has gotten her dog back after initially handing over the animal to a rescue while the incident was being investigated.

Widespread outrage sparked after cellphone video captured by the birder, Christian Cooper (no relation), went viral following the May 25 encounter. Part of the criticism centered on Amy Cooper's treatment of her dog, a cocker spaniel named Henry.

The video shows Amy aggressively tugging at the dog's collar and leash and at times pulling him off his feet as she seemingly pays no attention to the animal's visible discomfort.

That evening, Amy, who had adopted the dog a few years prior from Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue in New York, "voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue while this matter is being addressed," according to the rescue's Facebook page.

On Wednesday, Abandoned Angels said Amy asked that the dog be returned and that they agreed to the request.

"The dog was promptly evaluated by our veterinarian, who found that he was in good health," wrote the group, which termed the video "troubling."

"We have coordinated with the appropriate New York City law enforcement agencies, which have declined to examine the dog or take it into their custody. Accordingly, and consistent with input received from law enforcement, we have now complied with the owner's request for return of the dog."

The development follows the May episode in the Ramble section of Central Park after Christian, who was out bird watching, approached Amy after seeing the dog "tearing through the plantings" and asked her to put the canine on a leash, as the rules there require, he said.

Christian said he pulled out dog treats in an attempt to coax the dog out of the plants, and that's when Amy called police, saying, "There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog," according to the birdwatcher.

Amy claimed to CNN that Christian "came out of the bush" and was screaming at her.

Both had left by the time officers arrived and no charges were filed.

Amy apologized after the incident but was quickly fired from her job at the investment management company Franklin Templeton.

Amy Cooper could not be reached for comment. PEOPLE's requests for comment to Christian Cooper and Abandoned Angels rescue were not immediately returned.

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