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. Don’t get your hopes up. Police can murder citizens with impunity. They are above the law. Look for a 2 day suspension. It sucks. They will fight you to the end and lie about it all the way. To Serve and Protect….themselves.

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    • Let me ask you something, are you anti-BSL? If you are, that makes you a hypocrite. Just like not all pitbulls are vicious killers, not all cops are crooked. Your comment is so ignorant, it’s sickening.

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      • Hollymom23, although I appreciate your logic…you are comparing two different species…dogs and humans…apples and oranges. The culture of the police has always attracted sociopaths with a license to kill. To argue any differently is being completely naïve and promotes the blind support of unacceptable behavior. Cops or not!

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      • Police sign up to be police for one reason only.To use their weapon.Protect and serve makes for good PR,but let’s not get the facts twisted

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  2. He should be taken OFF the force and Fined and Jail…because we can’t shoot the Cop with disregard to his life like he disregarded that beautiful dogs life..dirty bastard

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  3. I thought CO passed a BSL law. If so, then my thought is, Chloe’s owner has the stupid neighbor to thank for getting his dog shot to death. Had the neighbor kept his mouth shut, Chloe would have returned to the garage (as she did) and most likely would have stuck around in there since she wasn’t being bothered. So yeah, way to go neighbor. Another senseless murder of a beautiful, innocent dog.

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    • News report showed neighbor crying and said he wished he had never called 911. He had no idea the police would come and shoot and kill the dog.

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    • Colorado does have a law prohibiting BSL. Unfortunately they also have “home rule” which basically means that no city has to follow any state laws, rendering any and all state laws completely null and void, in effect. One wonders why they even bother to legislate state law at all in that case. Consequently, any city that wants to can pass pit bull bans and so far there are 8: Denver and Aurora, which are the two biggest cities that comprise the entire metropolitan area; Commerce City, Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Louisville, LaJunta and Fort Lupton. According to the statutory language, any dog that has the “characteristics” of what is “commonly thought of” as a pit bull is included in the ban – meaning if it looks like what people have heard pit bulls are supposed to look like it is one. There is no objective criteria for making that determination either; any dog accused of being a pit bull is compared to a checklist of such characteristics by an employee who has no training, experience, or education in any area having to do with dogs or animals in general, who then decides whether in his subjective and personal OPINION the dog’s hair, tail, toes, jaws, eyes, etc. match the vague descriptions on that list. That’s the the worst thing about these laws; there is absolutely no basis in fact. Science, genetics, medicine, biology, zoology, psychology, ethology, history, and physiology have long since proven irrefutably that “pit bulls” are no more more dangerous than any other dog, yet we pass and enforce laws based on opinion, myth, hearsay, and hysteria. What happened to Chloe is the result of that kind of thinking. And for the record, the police officer who tased Chloe twice while she sat in her own dog bed in a garage on private property until she ran to escape the pain; the police officer who then shot her once as she ran away from him toward the open garage door where she was caught and held on a catchpole in that doorway by the animal control officer; the police officer who then walked toward her with his gun drawn and when he reached her shot her point blank five more times while she was restrained on the catch pole by the animal control officer as she struggled to escape until his revolver was empty and she was dead – that police officer was ACQUITTED by the jury early this year. Yes, acquitted, he got off scott free with NO penalty for what I have just described and what you just saw in the video above. This police officer has been cleared of any and all wrongdoing in connection with this incident, found innocent of all charges. Thought you all would like to know. I live here. Unfortunately.

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  4. so it says that the officer got charged with a felony…what did he get from that??? is e still a cop ?? please tell me he’s in jail??? piece of shit… I watched the video half way…that poor dog was just sitting there in his garage…wth is wrong with people and cops ??? I hope to hell this guy gets his in jail or on the streets… he deserves the same treatment done to him…

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  5. MURDERER!!!!!!!! Sickened by the pigs who would ever think one scrap of this is right. That “police officer” will rot in hell! Glad he is in jail and not of the force because I wouldn’t trust him with my life!

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  6. I don’t understand why they didn’t just close the garage door once she returned to her bed. Problem solved, move on to actual crimes. More training is needed for officers to deal with animals. And I think it should be a requirement for them to not have a fear of dogs. I’m hoping that since this is a felony that he will be kicked off the force. I know here in La, you can’t be a paramedic with a felony. It seems it should be even more so with law enforcement.

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