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By Melissa Garcia

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.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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.

Angelo (credit: CBS)

Angelo (credit: CBS)

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.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

Comments (14)
  1. James Duncan says:

    Society itself “needs to have its culture changed” in understanding that pit bulls pose a serious public safety hazard. Many deaths and serious injuries constantly. Pit bulls are zero error dogs – the owner’s dogs accidentally got out. Google “pit bull attack” to see the latest news stories and do the same for YouTube for bloody real world cell phone videos.

    Pit bull bans are widely precedented. Over 937 Cities, Towns and 31 Counties, plus 292 US Military bases in 36 states in the US currently have Breed Specific Legislation against pit bull type dogs as do several dozen other countries. US service people OK with state-of-the-art armaments but not pit bulls. In most situations, a pit bull may be a wonderful and loyal companion, but outside of “most situations” they can abruptly do explosive, unprovoked, unpredictable attacks of unimaginable ferocity, with a rend, hold and shear bite style that cause severe injuries or death to the target prey. You have to ask yourself why would all these places and organizations such as the US Military have pit bull bans?

    1. James Duncan, MANY MANY Cities and COUNTIES have repealed their pittbull bans. There are even CITIES and COUNTIES that are adopting pittbulls from shelters to train for their K-9 programs!!!! DO SOME RESEARCH!!!!

      1. Bob Tarpey says:

        Banned in 30 countries and on all us military bases for a reason .. you do your research as you are ignorant.
        Simply put, border collies do not herd sheep because they are raised on sheep farms; rather, they are raised on sheep farms because they herd. In addition pointers point, retrievers retrieve, and mastiffs guard, all because those traits are part of their breed expectations, meaning strong and continuous selection in the underlying breeding program ”

        Simply put Pit bulls do not attack because they are raised with dog fighters and drug dealers, dog fighters and drug dealers use pit bulls because they attack!

        It is their nature, their genetic truth and reality.!!

        It is not how you raise them rather it is simply what they are.!!

        Just like sled dogs run and pull, it is just their nature.!

        A pit bull type dog is what it is and does what it is.You can no more alter it genetic makeup then you can a collies to herd, a hounds to track, a retriever’s to retrieve, a labs to swim, a pointers to point, a sled dog to run and pull.

        They do what they are and a pit bull type dog is a mauling violent killer that has been bred to be a land shark, nothing you do can change that, even if you have them from birth.

        No matter if you love them, or how you nurture, train, rehabilitate, raise them optimally as normal dogs from birth, you can not change their Genetic reality to Kill, Maul, Maim, Disfigure, Dismember, cause Life Flights or trips to the Intensive Care Unit.

      2. You will not get JD to grow a brain. He is a ‘hater’ in the worse sense. Privately encouraging people to kill dogs, while appearing ‘normal’ in public posts.

  2. Well, Boo-Hoo! If her dogs hadn’t been running loose, one of them wouldn’t have been shot. Rios is the typical negligent, clueless pit bull owner and has no one but herself to blame for the shooting. Now her “animal attorney” is saying the police should have handled the situation differently …. No, Rios should have handled the situation differently by ensuring her land sharks were adequately confined.

  3. Will Larson says:

    Was the dog licensed? If you can’t contain your dangerous animals, then you kind of deserve to be sued when the cops have to shoot it when it’s on a rampage. I saw a couple of these animals (terriers or pit bulls) running lose today in Denver on Navajo street. No collars. Such responsible owners…

  4. My only complaint is that the officer should do some target practice so that next time he kills the pit bull instead of simply wounding it. The issue here is not cops shooting pit bulls but about pit bulls needing to be regulated to protect the safety of the public who is put at extreme risk of bodily injury or death every time an idiot pit owner allows their chainsaw-mouthed dog to run loose. Sick of it.

  5. If you don’t want your dog shot the answer is simple-control your damn dog. That is the JOB you signed up for when you got one. If you can’t do that there are plenty of other pets that are better options for you like cats, rabbits and hamsters. Sorry you failed your BANNED dog. Next time try harder, or pick a breed that doesn’t routinely kill people.

  6. OMG the comments on here are SO IGNORANT and UNIFORMED it makes me FURIOUS!! PEOPLE consistently BLAME the wrong end of the leash! DOGS are FAMILY and that police officer needs to be held accountable for his actions!!! 😦

    1. From the names I am seeing here they must have posted the link to this article on their dog-hating pages. They are all familiar names with the same old posts.

  7. In a perfect world people wouldn’t push open your gate when no one’s home and let your dogs out and police wouldn’t use your dog for target practice and laugh about shooting a family pet in the FACE in front of children!! 😦

  8. When civilians hurt animals its called a CRIME. The police need better training when it comes to animals. These dogs are wonderful around children and are loving members of a family. Do police shoot children that “get loose”? Accidents happen, neighborhood children leave gates open . Kathryn Dunigan you are more likely to die from your doctors misdiagnosis, or a medication error than your neighborhood dog and while you are at your doctors I hope he gives you some Valium so you can stop being so dramatic.

  9. VERY VERY WELL SAID Dani!!!!! 🙂

  10. Bob Tarpey – your comment is BADLY lacking in supportive evidence. PLEASE take heed – THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LAND SHARK!! Perhaps you should consider a continuing education course in the USE of punctuation instead of taking off on a tangent/rant unsupported by FACT!!! Shaking my head at the “pitt bull type dog” reference. Pitt bulls have EXCEEDED “breed expectations” and have PROVED their resilience and LOYALTY, EVEN after SIGNIFICANT, REPEATED, EXCESSIVE abuse! Please reference the SUCCESS stories of the dogs involved in the Michael Vick case and MANY others. THIS BREED is NOW being RECRUITED, USED and PRAISED by MANY Police Departments (including New York City) for their loyalty, ability to learn and adapt to change, and for the STABILITY in their character!!!!

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