My Pet World: Controversy roils over dog shot by Chicago police
"He shot the puppy!" several neighbors screamed simultaneously, shocked by the actions of one Chicago police officer.
On Saturday afternoon, Dec. 1, Al Phillips, who lives on Chicago's north side, received a call from a neighbor that a police officer was writing a parking ticket in front of Phillips' house. It was a beautiful day, and Phillips' three dogs had been playing in the yard, but, "as I walked outside the gate to talk to the police officer, I left the door ajar and the puppy walked out," Al told me.
That puppy is Colonel, a 7-month-old Miniature Bull Terrier affectionately dubbed "Col. Phillips" by neighborhood residents.
Al, 75, said he didn't hear the police officer issue a warning, or say anything. In TV reports, witnesses claimed the officer said, "The dog is loose." Within seconds, and without any additional warning, the officer shot at the puppy, twice.
"I heard the shots, but couldn't believe it," Al told me.
There were several witnesses, and their accounts to local TV have been consistent. Not only was the puppy not approaching the police officer, but Colonel was at least a car length away, sniffing at a tree.
It was only a matter of minutes before additional police arrived on the scene, and neighbors streamed from their homes and the high-rise across the street. About this time, Al said, his daughter, Morgan, happened to pull up.
"Some people were screaming," Morgan recalled.
Meanwhile, Colonel had run down the street. A neighbor had grabbed the dog, who was bleeding profusely. Police on the scene were saying nothing, some looking down to the ground, but none offered to help, Morgan told me. She rushed Colonel to the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center.
(It's possible neither shot was a direct hit. According to news reports, the bullets ricocheted off concrete or a fence. Had they had been direct hits, Colonel might have died, Al and Morgan Phillips said. After surgery, the pup is recovering well.)