2009-12-04 / Front Page

Cop's Two Shots Kill Small Dog

By Nicholas Briano

Police fatally shot a small pug dog in the head last week while responding to a call on a quiet Edgemere block, telling superiors that the dog attacked them outside its Beach 43 Street home.

Patricia Fernandez (right) points to spot outside her Beach 43 Street home where her Pug, Frank, (above) was shot by police. Patricia Fernandez (right) points to spot outside her Beach 43 Street home where her Pug, Frank, (above) was shot by police. The incident began at 5:33 a.m. last Thursday, October 26, when Patricia Fernandez, who was already awake and getting ready for work, heard shots fired outside her home located on a quiet deadend street.

According to police sources, patrol cars had responded to the house next door on a child endangerment call.

Prior to the cop's arrival at the home next door, Fernandez's daughter-in-law let their 10-year-old pug, named Frank by the family, outside through the backyard at about 5:25 a.m., something they do with regularity. But with the dog off the leash, and police responding to the child endangerment call next door, Frank, weighing no more than 20 pounds, ran along the side of the house toward the police cars and was shot once in the eye and once in the jaw by an unidentified police officer from the 101 precinct.

The Fernandez family also owns a pitbull named Chance. Police sources say the officers were charged by the pit bull as well as Frank.

Fernandez told The Wave, however, that the pit-bull was in the house at the time of the shooting and could not have been the dog that reportedly charged at the police officers. Fernandez says she heard no sounds that morning of barking or growling that would indicate aggressive behavior on the part of either of her dogs.

Often, she says, Frank would be let through the backyard, walk down the side of the house, walk around the front and then come back inside. Everyone on the block was familiar with the routine. Neighbors said that Frank was a great dog that didn't have a mean bone in its body.

Dwayne Black, who lives down the street, says he was awakened by the shots that killed Frank.

"He was a neighborhood dog," Black said. "My five-year-old daughter always sees and plays with him. I have been here for three years and that dog has never done any harm to anyone. I am shocked."

The neighbor that lives directly across the street wasn't home at the time of the shooting but says he couldn't believe what happened.

"He was such a nice dog," Yumeatris Davis said. "I couldn't believe it when I heard about it."

An additional resident of the block, who wished not to be identified, said all the dogs on the block get along with one another, including Frank.

"A lot of people have dogs on this block," she said. "I never seen him do anything wrong or get angry at people."

At the time of the shooting, Fern - andez was told by the police to stay inside. Fernandez says she saw the police around her truck, which was parked in front of the house after the shots went off. According to Fern - andez, she didn't find out that her dog had been shot and killed until after 7 a.m. when cops asked her if she had a dog and was asked to identify the dog's body.

Fernandez says the dog would often play with her eight-year-old and oneyear old grandchildren who also live in the house. She found the dog five years ago walking in the street and took him in.

"The cops could have told me that an accident had occurred," she said. "They had me wait more than two hours to find out my dog was dead. The precinct would not allow me to make a report and to this day I still don't know why they had to shoot my dog. The dog had an under bite and couldn't even eat hard foods. How could he bite people? He was friendly to everyone around here."

The Fernandez family says they plan on pursuing a civil suit against the Police Department, which Fern - andez believes acted unjustly and over-aggressively towards Frank.

New York Magazine released a report this week detailing the shots fired reports of the NYPD during 2008. According to the weekly magazine, 142 of the department's 364 shots fired in 2008 were at dogs. Eighty-percent of them were pit bulls. Frank was a pug.

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