Just like most dogs, Igor Vukobratovic’s 5-year-old German Shepherd, Otto, would bark like mad whenever someone knocked on the door of their Wyckoff, N.J., home.
Strangely, Otto apparently didn’t make a peep yesterday afternoon when police officer Kyle Ferreira said he knocked on the door. Ferreira was responding to a report about a break-in — but he was at the wrong house, across the street from the address reported to police.
When no one answered the door, Ferreira said he entered the backyard through an unlocked gate. He saw a window on the ground floor of the house was open, so he drew his revolver.
“A large, growling German Shepherd lunged out of the open window, bit the officer on his right foot and latched onto his boot,” Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox told NJ.com.
Ferreira fired four shots at Otto, two of which fatally struck him.
When Vukobratovic returned from the mall a short time later, he wondered why there were patrol cars parked outside his house.
He ran to the backyard, where Otto was lying dead in a pool of blood. “What did you do? What did you do?” he screamed at the police officers.
Vukobratovic’s father, Goran Vukobratovic, later told NJ.com there was no way Otto didn’t make his presence known when Ferreira arrived at the house.
“If he knocked or rang the bell, the dog would bark like crazy,” Goran said. “That’s the threshold.” He thinks Otto jumped out the window, which his son leaves open for him, when he heard the gate open.
Igor Vukobratovic told NJ.com he was considering suing the police department. “I’m just looking at lawyers right now but I don’t know,” he said.
Ferreira was not injured, but was distraught, Fox told CBS New York. “The whole situation is very sad and very unfortunate,” he said.
Training Cops to Humanely Deal with Pet Dogs
Sadly, cases of police officers shooting pet dogs are not unusual. To prevent these incidents, law enforcement officers can be educated about dog behavior and learn how to deal with pet dogs without firing their weapons.
In California, where in March a popular therapy dog named Burberry was shot and killed by an officer who was also at the wrong address, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) offers the class “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” to all police officers in the state.
“When an officer shoots a pet dog, it is traumatic for the officer, the animal and the community — something we want to mitigate as much as is possible,” said spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein in a press release earlier this year.
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