Police Officer Charged with Felony for Tasering and Shooting Therapy Dog

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The Commerce City, Colorado police officer who killed Chloe last month has been charged with animal cruelty.  Officer Robert Price was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a class six felony.

The incident occurred on November 24, when owner Gary Branson dropped Chloe off at a relative’s house while he went out of town for Thanksgiving.  She left Chloe in her garage when she went out shopping, but the dog tripped the sensor and opened the door.  Police received a call from neighbor Kenny Collins, who said there was a large, aggressive pit bull-mix (chocolate Lab mix, according to Branson) wandering around, barking at his windows.  Police arrived with animal control, and Collins’ son began filming the event on his cell phone.

“He’s basically back in the garage or whatever, staying away from the police,” Collins said.

Collins said that Chloe just sat in the garage near her bed for about half an hour while the officers scratched their heads, thinking what to do.  Chloe must have attempted to get back out, because one of the officers used his Taser on her twice, forcing her back inside.  Scared, Chloe tried to escape again, but was shot by Price.  The animal control officer finally got the wounded dog on the catch pole, but Price shot her four more times, finally ending her life.

Commerce City Police issued a statement that read:  “An animal control agent was able to place a ‘catch pole’ around the dog’s neck.  The pit bull remained extremely agitated and continued to attempt to attack the animal control agent.  Due to the dog’s size and aggressive demeanor, it could not be controlled on the catch pole.  For the safety of the animal control agent and the community, a police officer shot and killed the dog.”

Collins said that from the video, you could tell Chloe was just scared and trying to run away from danger.

“I totally disagree with it, totally,” he said.  “The dog was not attacking people and that’s not what I said when I called 911.”

Gary Branson with framed photos of his dogs

Branson is devastated at the loss of his dog, who had been a therapy dog to him since he underwent heart surgery in 2008.

“She was my constant companion pretty much 24/7.  And there’s never been any incidents where she was violent or aggressive,” Branson said.  “She was as gentle as a lamb.  She loved kids.  She loved running around with them, playing with them.  She’d let them ride on her like a horse, bounce on her, pull her ears, and she never once did anything to harm a child – or an adult.  She was just a loving, loving animal who loved attention.  It didn’t matter from who.”

After a thorough investigation, the Adams County District Attorney charged price with cruelty to animals.  The cell phone video, which went viral, has been a key piece of evidence, along with witness accounts.  A necropsy was also performed.  Branson is considering taking legal action against the Commerce City Police Department.

“They had the opportunity to do the right thing – to own their mistake, to apologize for that mistake. And they didn’t,” said Branson’s attorney, Jennifer Edwards.  “So now I think they need to change their ways within that police department.  Obviously, there’s something wrong in the culture there.  In three months, we’ve gone to trial on one dog getting shot, and now we have another one needlessly murdered.  Something has to change.”

WARNING:  Video is very graphic and heartbreaking.

48 thoughts on “Police Officer Charged with Felony for Tasering and Shooting Therapy Dog”

  1. Any policeman who abuses his authority, as was done in this case, deserves quick and just punishment. An officer who will lie in the face of irrefutable evidence, and then is backed by his own department, indicates that there is not only a problem with the officer, but also with the police department officials. However, first things first – thank you to the District Attorney for doing what was right by charging Price with a crime. Now, I just hope that justice is served and that Price is found guilty and sentenced accordingly.

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  2. It takes a big man to shoot a frightened animal (multiple times). What’s next? Beating your wife? After all, anyone involved in animal welfare knows that animal cruelty and domestic violence go hand-in-hand.

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  3. IT IS LITERALLY TERRIBLE THAT THE OFFICER SHOT THE ANIMAL ONCE BUT THEN 4 MORE TIMES TAKING HIS LIFE!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM, MAYBE WE NEED TO TAKE HIS GUN FROM HIM SEEMS A LITTLE ANXIOUS TO USE IT.

    NOW A POOR DEFENSELESS ANIMAL THAT SOMEONE LOVED HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM THEM BECAUSE OF OFFICER PRICE’S IGNORANCE. I HOPE THEY SUSPEND AND FNE HIM PLUS PUT ON HIS RECORD ANIMAL CRUELTY. JUST BECAUSE HE IS A POLICE MAN DOES NOT MAKE HIM ABOVE THE LAW!!

    SHAME ON YOU AND THINK HE SHOULD HAVE TO PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE FOR HIS DISREGARD FOR LIFE AS ANIMALS ARE FAMILY TO SOME OF US AND HE JUST TOOK ONE FROM HIS FAMILY FOR NO REASON…..COME ON 4 SHOTS, THAT IS JUST WAY OUT OF LINE!!!!!

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  4. OMG this is a disgrace and o heartbreaking!! This officer needs to be let go from the force n jail time and the department just as bad for defending him!! They need a rude awakening!!! So many dogs being shot n killed for no just reason…C’mon this has to stop now!!! Seems to me these n this officer gets some kind of pleasure out of shotting dogs!!! C/mon now really officer sot 4 times????????????? So sorry for your poor beautiful harmless dog and you Mr. Price was no need for this kind of action by so called police!!! I sure hope you and your attorney Mr. Price take this ass to court andburn him big time which he so deserves!!!!!!!!

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    • Sorry mistake above in Names!!! So sorry Mr. Branson for your loss n hope you n your attorney can bring some due time justice to what officer Price has done needlessly!!! Mr. Branson n attorney hope you burn this B——- ass big time!!!!!! Again sorry for my mistake in names above 🙁

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  5. Extremely disgusting. That dog was just chillin in his garage wondering why these men are surrounding him. Even when he was shot, he ran away from animal control, not lunging at him. Branson should sue the police dept. for lying and backing officer jack*ss. Simple solution was to go into the garage and close it. Good Luck Branson

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