A family in Hollywood is seeking redress after their pit bull was shot by police officers who entered their home while investigating a crime that occurred nearby.
The dog, Kush, was left badly injured in the incident, which took place on Saturday, and is currently at the city’s South Los Angeles animal shelter awaiting surgery to reconstruct her jaw, her family said, but they can’t afford it.
Officers were conducting an investigation on the 5800 block of Willoughby Avenue around 2:30 a.m. that morning when they were confronted by a large dog and shot the hound, Los Angeles Police Officer Drake Madison said.
LAPD said it could not provide further details on the incident, citing an ongoing investigation, but Kush’s owners, Brett Kerby and Norma Lopez, say officers shot their dog after entering their home.
The couple had fallen asleep on their couch early Saturday morning when they were awakened by a commotion outside, Kerby said.
“I heard a bottle hit the wall and the floor near my patio — it was three in the morning, we were sleeping — so I get up and open the door and I see these guys hopping the fence,” he told KTLA.
Kerby said he later saw the man through his window, and told him to get away because they were children in the home. The man left, but a short time later, Kerby heard gunshots, he said.
He says he stepped outside and saw a victim on the ground in the alley behind his home, and a woman upstairs calling for help. When an LAPD gang unit arrived on scene a short time later, Kerby pointed them to the back where the victim lay, he said.
After officers interviewed Kerby about what he saw, the family had trouble sleeping and, along with Lopez’s mother, they started doing laundry.
While at the laundromat downstairs washing their clothes, additional officers arrived on scene and questioned them again, the couple said.
Both Kerby and Lopez were detained and loaded into the back of a police cruiser, they said, while their kids, Lopez’s mother and a friend remained in their home. The family says the friend offered to remove the pit bull, but LAPD refused.
“I guess they got a call for a suspect with black hoodies, and I guess a girl and a guy,” Kerby said. “And I guess they thought it was us.”
That’s when they say the officers entered their home and shot Kush while their 7-year-old daughter was nearby.
“She heard the boom, she heard the dog cry, she saw the dog bleeding and go from the closet to the bathroom,” Kerby said.
The couple sat in the back of the police car from about 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., Kerby said, and he heard the “boom” about 15 minutes in.
Both the couple’s 7-year-old children, Lopez’s mother and the friend were removed from the home, but Kerby said the dog was left inside alone, bleeding heavily behind a shut door.
Hours later, police came to the vehicle where the couple was being detained and told them their dog was shot and killed because she tried to attack the officer. They begged to see her, but police ordered her to be left behind the closed door until animal control arrived around 7 a.m., Kerby said.
“My dog was alive, standing inside the bathroom, growling but alive, bleeding all over the place,” he said. “It was just devastating what happened. Now my daughter, when we walk through Union Station she hides behind her mom and thinks every cop is the cop that almost killed her dog.”
Kerby said the vet told him if the dog did bite an officer, a rabies test would have been ordered, but that didn’t happen.
Kush is now in an animal shelter under a 10-day hold, according to her family. LAPD allegedly said the city would cover all associated bill, but the family will have to submit a claim and pay upfront — something they can’t afford.
“This was uncalled for. We had nothing to do with the scene that was outside,” Kerby said. “So they came in my house with some wrong information, cornered my dog, shot her, left her to die, and now they claim it was an accident?”
Police did return to the home to update the family on Kush’s condition and informed them of some activists groups that might be able to assist with the medical bills, which will be in excess of $1,000.
Warning: The post below contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing.