ERIE, Colo. (CBS4)- The district attorney has cleared an Erie police officer who shot and killed a family’s pet earlier this month.

District Attorney Stan Garnett said the dog lunged at the officer.

Its owner, Brittany Moore, says the German shepherd named Ava didn’t do anything that warranted being shot.

“I think it was very senseless,” said Moore.

“The dog was coming at me and had lunged at me, felt like it was attempting to bite me,” said Erie Police Officer Jamie Chester.

“That’s what he says but we have our witnesses. I was a witness and I just don’t see the threat that was there,” said Moore. space Dog Owner Reacts To Finding That Police Officer Was Justified In Deadly Shooting

The officer was responding to Moore’s home when Ava approached him in a neighbor’s driveway. Moore said Ava was only curious about the officer.

In the District Attorney’s report, Chester said Ava was, “…growling and showing her teeth.”

“I definitely understand the different between a dog that’s playing and is curious about what’s going on and an aggressive animal,” said Chester.

Moore said Chester should have left his gun in his holster and used something else.

“I feel like if he felt threatened there was, officers carry mace, a billy club, tasers,” said Moore.

“There’s nothing out there that says he has to do the taser. He needs to do what he feels he needs to do to protect himself,” said Erie Police Chief John Hall.

Chester has three dogs of his own and wants the community to know that he only did what was necessary.

“This is not a situation that we’re proud of or wanted to occur,” said Chester.

Moore said the District Attorney’s findings are disappointing, but her fight for Ava isn’t over.

“We’ll be finding justice,” said Moore.

Moore has a new dog named “Lucy.” That puppy was donated to her by a CBS4 viewer after Moore’s story originally aired.

Comments (15)
  1. druid0621 says:

    Another police buddy-buddy cover-up. I lose more respect for LE every single day.

  2. ds says:

    I own a GSD, get a clue Brittany. Where were you when your dog was attacking? They are smart, they are protective, they are aggressive, and scary to anyone they don’t know. Cut the BS and give the officer a break. GSDs are loyal and capable of very real harm. I am truly sorry for your loss, and can’t emphasis enough the real tragedy here. You and your ignorance of the breed.

    1. Karen says:

      Well said. This same woman would have been sued and prosecuted had her dog actually attacked the officer. She called the police, she should have secured her animals.

    2. GSDLOVER says:

      What an awful thing to say to someone who just lost their German Shepherd. If you do KNOW about the breed you do KNOW how much someone bonds with their GSD and there is no point in being so cruel to someone who just lost their dog in any situation. And as I recall wasn’t the dog shot in the BACK???

  3. Karen says:

    I think someone should press charges against Ms. Moore for wasting our tax dollars on her frivolous witch hunt.
    And to these people that are still so upset at the police officer, have they not read the official report in its entirety? Unless they are one of those conspiracy theorists, it is all there in easy to read print. For a moment, let’s just forget the he said, she said, the neighbor said – the report goes into specific detail of the science:
    Section 13 page 3 of 4 of District Attorney’s Official Report: Dr. Gary Mason performed a necropsy on the dog the next day, May 11, 2011. Dr. Mason observed a gunshot wound on the horizontal surface of the dog’s back. Dr. Mason concluded that the bullet appeared to have traveled through the fractured vertebra, through the lung lobe, through the diaphragm and through the liver. Based on the trajectory of the bullet, it is Dr. Mason’s opinion that the shot occurred in a head-to-tail direction. This opinion is consistent with the description provided by Officer Chester.
    I don’t feel like retyping the entire report, but it clearly states that the OWNER refused to give an official statement during the investigation (that is just bizarre). That the DA’s office tried to go through her lawyer, and it never happened. It also says that that the neighbor that was the only other witness was given a “voluntary statement form” that was not completed nor turned, and ALSO refused to speak to the DA. Maybe it is because they were not willing to continue to spew their lies in an official investigation. So if you love conspiracies – please open your eyes to this one.
    I just can’t believe the people out there that will not accept the truth, as hard as it may be. I do believe that the dog owner, is probably racked with GUILT over getting her dog killed. Because she has no one to blame but herself. I am sorry for the sadness of the owner, because I going to guess that her greatness sadness is rooted in her GUILT. This is her fault and SHAME on HER for not taking care of her animals. She CALLED the POLICE and requested their presence in her home. She owned a German Sheppard – she should have had her dog in a kennel, on a leash, locked in a bedroom, etc etc etc. And SHAME on her for WASTING all of our tax dollars on this witch hunt that must be helping ease her guilt. I have been following this story, I have also reviewed comments on the “Justice for Ava” Facebook page – the science shows that the owner is a LIAR. Her statements on her page and to the media contradict the science. I have also seen on the FB page that people who posted the official report link, have commented that the page administrator keeps DELETING IT. They have also asked her on the page – WHY she and her lawyer would not meet with the DA.
    I am sorry – but it angers me to see people try to ruin someone’s life, livelihood for no reason. This Ms. Moore should be ashamed of herself. I hope she can move on and she should seek professional help for her delusions or need to create such havoc to give meaning to her life. In the end I feel sorry for the dog that was not controlled properly and the policemen who has had to go through so much turmoil to just do his job. She even got a free purebred puppy German Sheppard out of it (donated to her by someone that saw her sob story). Good for her. I sincerely hope she has learned something from this – for her new GS’s sake.

    1. Steve Williams says:

      “And to these people that are still so upset at the police officer, have they not read the official report in its entirety? Unless they are one of those conspiracy theorists, it is all there in easy to read print.” In a perfect world, Karen a lab report and the officer’s and victin’s statements (or lack thereof) would tell the whole story. But if you look at the big picture I believe that you will find that it doesn’t…

      There are still some pretty serious questions that Erie PD, Officer Chester,no one seems to want to address:
      1.What backstop was present when Officer Chester discharged his service weapon?
      2.How many people were in close proximity when his weapon was discharged?
      3.Where were they located?

      These are important questions that have been asked, and, to my knowledge, never replied to. Karen, what would your reaction be if you saw an officer fire his weapon in a situation like this and YOUR house was the backstop? Have you ever seen a bullet ricochet and then strike someone, intended or not.? I have. There are many things to be considered each and every single time that an LEO discharges his weapon on duty…especially in an urban setting. Officer Chester had very little time to access his shooting environment before making his decusion to use deadly force, but every officer faces that same situation in these types of incidents, and many if not most have chosen to seek an alternative option when they didn’t know the answers to the questions posed above.

      Since apparently the Governmental investigation is over, could any part of Officer Chester’s Offense Report and Use of Force Report be made public that would clarify just what the shooting environment was at the time of the incident? This would go a long way towards establshing the WHOLE picture of what happened, and perhaps help regain confidence in the public’s perception of Officer Chester’s judgement under stress and overall capability as an LEO.

      1. Karen says:

        Hi Steve,
        Sorry for my late reply. The only thing I can say to your point about pretty serious questions that no one wants to address, is also clearly printed in the report:
        Page 3 of 4 (I retyped exactly)
        14. The only other party who was present during the shooting besides Officer Chester, the neighbor and Ms. Moore, was an adult female (third witness). Sgt. Brown gave this witness a voluntary statement form. The form has not been completed and returned to the Police Department. Additionally, this third witness refused to talk with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office.

        15. Since the incident, Ms. Moore has retained Animal Law Center as legal counsel. The investigator repeatedly contacted Ms. Moore’s attorney and Ms. Moore did not accept a request for an interview for the District Attorney’s Office.

        The above tells me – Ms. Moore and even her neighbor are liars. They will cry and scream injustice to the media and their little rally/walk, but to actually put their lies and slander down officially – that is another story. This entire thing is a fiasco and the person benefiting the most is the irresponsible dog owner that because of her lack of planning, got her dog killed. Since then she has been gifted a new GS puppy, she is the recipient of so much sympathy. And she has someone other than herself to blame when she explains to her young children what happened to the family pet.

        As for my reaction if a weapon was fired in front of my home or even in my home – it would be upsetting, but I would also accept that sometimes the firing of a weapon is necessary, as in this case. And believe me – I have two dogs that I ADORE, and I find it very sad about Ava. But I blame Ava’s mom – not the officer that Ms. Moore CALLED to her house because of personal issues in her life that she felt needed police assistance. Maybe she should also sue the person performing harassing phone calls – it seems to be anyone’s fault but her own that she did not secure, control, and protect her family pet.

        I hope her new GS fares better than the last one she owned. Maybe she will watch this one properly.

      2. BW says:

        Give me a break. What a waste of cyberspace. The “shooting environment” whatever that means, was the officer was being attacked by an animal. I’m guessing you would have done your dog whisperer routine and all in the universe would have been well. Gee whiz, the world is full of keyboard warriors and experts.

  4. Jason W says:

    I have trained in officer vs. animal safety for several years and Ms. Moore’s suggest alternatives to shooting her dog are just not feasible. First, the Taser. It is not designed for or recommended by the manufacturer for use against animals. It is also designed to shoot the barbs at an upright traget into the chest area, not a target, moving quickly, low to the ground and in the back. So the Taser is out. Mace (or OC spray). It will deter a dog a lot of the time. However, if the wind is blowing towards the officer and he sprays, he will get a face full of OC and be incapacitated in the dog attack. Plus, unless the officer is able to get the dog full in the face, it may not be completely effective. Finally, it is a close in weapon. If it doesn’t work, the officer has left himself open to attack with no response. The bato has several of the same problems as listed above. You are trying to strike a target that is low to the ground and moving fast. Your common target areas for a baton strike are not available. If the officer misses or his strike does not stop the attack, the officer has now allowed the dog to get within range in injure of kill him. The officer responded correctly to the situation. He was faced with an unrestrained dog, running at large, exhibiting threatening behavior towards him and he shot it to stop the threat to himself. Ms. Moore, this would not have happened and you were a responsible pet owner and had your dog properly restrained.

  5. Steve Williams says:

    ” First, the Taser. It is not designed for or recommended by the manufacturer for use against animals.” – I agree.

    “It will deter a dog a lot of the time. However, if the wind is blowing towards the officer and he sprays, he will get a face full of OC and be incapacitated in the dog attack. Plus, unless the officer is able to get the dog full in the face, it may not be completely effective.” – I agree with you in regards to the wind effect, but the old original Mace and today’s OC sprays have sure stopped a lot of dogs in their tracks, as well as other potentially dangerous animals.

    “You are trying to strike a target that is low to the ground and moving fast. Your common target areas for a baton strike are not available.” – Doesn’t ASP and Monadnock still advocate leg strikes as part of their recommended use of force programs? I should think that a target the size of an adult GSD would correspond with the legs of a human being, most of which don’t just stand still and let you execute a power strike on them.

    “The officer responded correctly to the situation.” – Personally, I’d like to know about the total environment of the shooting scene before making that call. But no one with Erie PD or the Bpulder Co. DA seems to be forthcoming with that information, which would go a long ways toward allowing the general public to form an educated and objective opinion of the necessity of the use of deadly force in this incident.

  6. Steve Williams says:

    Thank you for the information, Karen. I am still (and probably always will be) skeptical about how this tragic incident was handled from start to finish by Erie PD and the Boulder County DA’s Office…much as you see areas of concern in the victim’s version of events. Two sides to every coin, as they say. Not being privy to any sketches and photos of the shooting scene (which should have been done immediately after the incident – remember we are talking about a Police Officer discharging his service weapon in a residential area with bystanders present), it is impossible to determine if Officer Chester took a safe shot. I don’t know Colorado LEO training standards in regards to firearms training, however the State and Federal firearms programs that I have personal experience with nowdays stress the importance of taking that nanosecond to see what’s behind your target. Thus, for various reasons, I remain skeptical about the necessity of the Officer using the level of force that he did, be it involving Ava the GSD or any other perceived threat. Time will tell…and the truth will eventually surface. Again, thank you for your information Karen.

  7. Thomas Bourland says:

    I can tell you from personal experiance that a dog in its own teritory will defend what it consideres to be his . Years ago as a member of the Oklahoma national Guard we were sent to the city of new Orleans post Katrina to restore order
    One of the most noticable things were the former pets roaming the streets dogs are scavengers by nature and given the lack of food they will eat human remains or fresher varities so give that a thought if I had been in the officers shoes little cujo would have gotten two in the skull before he could have snapped. The hardest part of any unknow situation is making a judgment call
    and the officer in question made his while the death of a beloved pet is sad the owner in the end bears the responsibility of the outcome.

  8. kraus says:

    its simple as a gs owner, they are very smart but if dont train youre dog they will end up training you most people i see cant control there dog i thank god when they dont have kids.

  9. Ronald Wales says:

    you come on my property like the hitler some of those uniformed officers act like-surprise—SURPRISE–the law reads that you can use as much force it takes to protect you property and life and that means it includes officers-with attitudes-as much as i am with the law —–I’M NOT MUCH FOR PUTTING UP WITH A BAD ASS IN UNIFORM-read your rites

  10. roscoe says:

    Just another example of over militarized police in action. Oh, the dog barked and acted like as dog so I shot it. Its the dogs fault BS!

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