CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – A North Side family is furious over what they claim was an unjustified police shooting of their 7-month-old miniature bull terrier, Colonel Phillips, known to the neighborhood as “The Colonel.”
Residents are also upset, not just because police shot a puppy they all knew, but also because the shooting occurred not far from a preschool, on a street where pedestrians including children could have been hurt.
The dog’s father was a champion show dog and his owners hoped he would one day be a show dog himself.
“They look like Spuds Mckenzie. You’ve seen the Target ad? One of those, but they’re miniatures,” owner Al Phillips says of the breed.
But on Saturday afternoon, the Colonel became a target himself. He was shot by a Chicago Police officer in front of his owner’s gated, North Side home. Police were writing a parking ticket for a van belonging to Al Phillips, so Phillips came out to move the vehicle.
“My little bull terrier followed me out,” Phillips explains. “Then, all I hear is boom! Boom! Two shots. You shot the dog!”
One eyewitness, Charlene Dezego, told FOX 32 News that she heard the officer warned Phillips about the dog being loose, but the officer never sounded like he was in danger.
“All of sudden I heard him say, ‘get your dog,’ and then the next statement was ‘get your dog,’ and then he just pulled out his gun and shot twice,” says Dezengo.
Morgan Phillips, Al’s daughter, rushed the dog to an emergency vet.
“He needed five hours surgery. They took shrapnel out of his stomach. He had shell casing in his leg. It lacerated his muscle. We were going to show him, but we can’t now,” Morgan says.
While FOX 32’s Larry Yellen was interviewing the dog’s owners, two police officers drove by the home. 90 minutes later, they came back, asked why Phillips why he had contacted the media and gave him a ticket for not keeping Colonel on a leash.
“They were giving us a ticket, three days after the fact,” says Phillips. “So I think they’re probably trying to cover their rear ends.”
A police spokesman says the shooting is being investigated by the independent police review authority, which investigates all police shootings.
The Phillips family says they’re considering a petition drive to have the officer who shot their dog taken off the streets.
They also say that after shooting the dog, the officer put his gun back in his holster, and calmly finished writing the ticket for their van.