AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A woman whose dog was shot by an officer is outraged by the police body-worn camera video that recorded the shooting.
Valeria Rios is facing criminal charges including keeping a vicious, aggressive, or dangerous dog, after her two terriers got loose from her Aurora backyard on Oct. 22.
Residents in the area of Sable Boulevard and Cimarron Street called 911 to report that the loose pit bulls were allegedly attacking someone outside of an apartment complex.
Officers responding to the call wore body cameras that captured video of the events that followed.
Valeria Rios, the owner of 3-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier “Angelo,” provided CBS4 with video that she says she obtained from the Aurora City Attorney’s Office.
“I’ll put this mother-(expletive) down in a minute,” said an officer responding to the scene where the two dogs jumped up on his car, according to the officer.
In a written police report, the officer states that he was worried for people’s safety and got out of his car.
The officer’s statement goes on to say that one of the dogs growled and took an aggressive stance.
Gunfire sounded, followed by the dog whimpering and screaming before running off.
“Okay, I had to shoot one (dog); he came right at me,” said the officer who fired the shot.
“He didn’t deserve it,” said Rios, between tears.
Rios said that Angelo was shot in the face, and that she later had to have him euthanized due to the severity of his wound.
Her attorney said that Rios had been able to obtain the body camera video from the City Attorney’s Office as required in advance of her upcoming jury trial.
Rios said that she was angered by what she saw and heard in the video.
“It just angers me the way (the officers) talked about (the dog); the way they joked about him; the way he ran off in pain screaming” Rios said. “And he was just wagging his tail at them the whole time he was shot.”
Juliet Piccone, an animal attorney representing Rios said that she wished police would have handled the situation differently. Specifically, she believed that police officers should have allowed animal control to handle the dogs. She also felt that officers could benefit from additional animal training. She did not believe that the use of deadly force was necessary.
“The police department as a whole needs to have their culture changed,” Piccone said. “These (dogs) are not target practice for you; these are family members.”
In a previous interview, an Aurora police spokesperson indicated that officers on scene were doing their job in protecting the public and themselves from the dogs’ aggressive behaviors.
In response to CBS4’S request for additional police comment on the recently released body camera video, the police spokesperson said the department could no longer speak on the case due to pending civil litigation.
Piccone said that no civil suit had been filed.