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‘He shot my f---ing family.’ Police officer shoots dog in front of SLO home

Update to this story >> >> Dog shot by SLO police officer has died. ‘It shouldn’t have happened,’ owner says

Original story:

A San Luis Obispo police officer shot a dog late Thursday morning while responding to what officers thought was a possible burglary in the city.

Police went to a home in the 600 block of Santa Rosa Street after receiving reports of a possible burglary, with a caller saying that someone had jumped out of a broken window, according to police Capt. Jeff Smith.

“Officers responded and as they approached the residence, a large dog came out,” Smith said, noting that the dog wasn’t on a leash or otherwise tethered. “The officer feared for his safety, and at that time the officer fired shots at the dog.”

The dog was hit, and its condition is currently unknown, Smith said.

The officer, who has not been identified, was not injured, Smith said.

Police spoke to witnesses and parties involved to determine if a burglary or another crime was in progress at the time, Smith said.

“Right now, it doesn’t appear there was anything criminal happening as far as a burglary,” Smith said, adding that officers will now document everything that took place up to the dog being shot.

“We don’t show up to calls with the intent to kill dogs,” Smith said. “It’s an unfortunate circumstance, and we’ll look into the totality of what took place regarding the related call and the dog being loose and running after one of our officers.”

Officers respond to burglary report

Nick Regalia and Riley Manford said the officer shot their 7-year-old boxer mix, Bubbs, after someone reported a possible burglary to police when they saw Manford standing on the fence. He was trying to fix their window.

“The door was open and we were just inside,” Manford told The Tribune. She said Bubbs went outside, which wasn’t unusual for the dog as he’s friendly with the neighbors and stays in the vicinity of the house.

“We noticed he was barking a lot, so I ran outside and there was a whole police squad out there,” Manford said.

Most of the police officers were at the end of the driveway, she said, but two officers were walking up toward a parking area in front of their home.

“Bubbs was right there, guarding where the driveway meets his area,” Manford said, adding that the first police officer was friendly and didn’t seem worried about the dog.

“I was like, ‘Hey, he’s a pit bull/boxer mix. He’s rambunctious. He sounds scary but he’s friendly,’ ” Manford said.

She said the second officer had his gun drawn, and asked her to get Bubbs.

“I told him to ‘put your gun down and stop backing up,’ because the dog was following him and he might jump on (him),” Manford said.

“But he won’t bite you,” she said she told the officer. “He’s never bitten anyone, never hurt anyone.”

She said the officer kept his gun out and continued walking backward, and asked her to come get her dog one more time.

“As I was walking to him, he shot him,” Manford said, crying. “We don’t know if he’s going to be OK. The bullets went through him.”

Manford said three shots were fired, and her dog was hit twice. The dog immediately ran into the house and vomited.

Injured dog rushed to vet

Regalia rushed him to the veterinarian, where Bubbs is currently undergoing emergency surgery. Regalia said they’re waiting to hear whether the dog will live or not.

“The officer didn’t say sorry. He was like ‘Well, you should have grabbed your dog,’ and I was like, ‘I tried to. You didn’t give me a chance to. What the f--- is wrong with you?’ ” Manford said.

Smith said police “are sorry the dog was shot.”

“We wish it would have been behind a fence or locked up or on a leash,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but at the time we believed we were responding to a burglary in progress.”

Manford said that she’s happy someone called to report what they thought was a burglary and tried to keep the neighborhood safe.

“I just think the police force needs to figure out a better training technique so their officers aren’t so trigger-happy,” she said. “I’m a 4-foot-11 girl; I’m not threatening. I asked him to put the gun down so I could go get the dog and he wouldn’t.”

“It was just so excessive I couldn’t believe it,” Regalia said. “Even if you are scared, at least three shots when you have an alternate use of force, I don’t think that’s right.”

Manford said she and Regalia adopted Bubbs when he was 6 months old.

“He’s our kid,” she said. “That’s my family. He shot my f---ing family.”

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.
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