BOISE – A Boise family is outraged over the death of their 5-year-old dog. Sunday afternoon, a Boise Police officer fired his weapon at the dog, killing it.
For years, Gabrielle Stropkai found companionship in her dog, Kita, calling her a lover and a friend for her son Hayden to grow up with.
“We have kids who run up and pull her tail and grab her by the back of the neck and get in her face and she does nothing but love on them,” said Stropkai.
However, as two Boise patrol officers were investigating a theft that was reported in the area of Woodlawn and 28th Sunday afternoon they felt threatened by Kita.
According to Boise Police spokesman Charles McClure, Kita began running toward them and the officers felt forced to protect themselves.
Neighbors like Bryan Adams were outside at that time and saw it happen.
“She was walking by and went 'ruff ruff' just a couple of little ruffs and that's when she was walking by she didn't jump at him or anything,” explained Adams.
Other witnesses to the incident described the dog as barking and snarling at officers as it approached them.
Stropkai tells KTVB she let Kita outside to use the bathroom and she was in her sight when the officer made an instant decision.
“In about five seconds he pulled his weapon, asked whose dog it was, and shot her in the back of the head,” said Stropkai.
Stropkai explains her two-year-old son Hayden was also witness to the shooting.
“Hayden was outside, about two feet away from me,” said Stropkai's mother, Michelle Pierott.
McClure said the two officers were standing in a parking lot when one decided to fire a single shot at the dog when it came within three feet of them.
Kita, a mixed breed, was hit and died at the scene.
“By the time I came out she was down, (I) ran over and looked back and said you just shot her,” said Pierott. “Kita wouldn't have attacked.”
However, the Boise Police Department disagrees. In a statement issued Sunday evening by the department Deputy Chief Pete Ritter had this to say.
"Officers never want to harm an animal. The dog came upon the officers quickly and they felt it was about to bite them. This is a very dog friendly community. Many officers have dogs. We work with dogs. Dogs running loose are a safety risk, for people and for the dogs. This was a very unfortunate situation for everyone involved."
The family believes the officer acted too fast and although an investigation was launched, the biggest worry on their minds is Kita’s six two-week old puppies.
“Now we are going to have to figure out how to keep them alive... without her,” said Pierott.
The City of Boise does have a leash ordinance; dog owners are required to keep their dogs on leash, except in specified areas.