Police and Law Enforcement

Minneapolis police officer shoots two service dogs in backyard, video shows

Surveillance video captured a Minneapolis police officer shooting two service dogs in a home’s backyard on Saturday while responding to a burglary alarm at the residence.

The incident occurred on the northern side of the city after police were called to Jennifer LeMay’s home due to an activated burglary alarm, according to the Star Tribune.

The home’s surveillance video captured an officer standing in the backyard of the residence when a white dog, Ciroc, began to approach him. The officer backed away from the dog, who was wagging its tail, before shooting the canine.

The white dog limped away and another dog, named Rocko, was seen approaching the same officer but was shot a few times before running away. The officer waited a few moments before climbing the fence out of the yard.

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LeMay’s two teenaged daughters were at the residence when the incident occurred. One of the daughters accidentally set off the alarm, prompting the police presence.

The girls said that police did not knock on the front door to alert them of their arrival but instead walked around the property to investigate. The officers alerted the teenagers that they were there after the dogs were shot.

The family did not seek medical help immediately because they were reportedly told that “animal control” would be there shortly, but they never came, LeMay said.

LeMay, 33, posted the video on her Facebook page with a caption: “mpls (Minneapolis) finest shooting my dogs that weren’t attacking or charging at him!”

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Later, LeMay posted multiple photos of the injured Staffordshire Terriers with an update stating that they are alive, but will require thousands of dollars for their medical treatment. Ciroc was shot in the jaw while Rocko was shot in his shoulder, face and side. Both dogs, aged five-years-old, are service dogs for LeMay's children. Rocko helps LeMay's oldest child with a seizure disorder while Ciroc assists the younger child who has anxiety and mental health issues.

“We are aware of the recent incident involving MPD officers responding to an audible residential burglary alarm and while at this call an MPD officer discharged their firearm, striking two dogs belonging to the homeowner,” Corey Schmidt, a Minneapolis Police spokesman, told the Star Tribune. “Anytime an officer discharges their firearm in the line of duty there is an investigation. We are in the process of reviewing the video posted online, as well as the officer’s body camera video.”

Later, a police report from the incident was released stating: “While staging at the rear, two large size pitbulls charged at officer,” the police report by Michael Mays, a responding officer, stated, according to The Star Tribune. “Officers dispatched the two dogs, causing them to run back into the residence.”

“My dogs were doing their job on my property,” LeMay said. “We have a right to be safe in our yard."

LeMay told Fox News that she will be seeking legal action regarding the incident, but for now is focused on the dog's physical well-being and is concerned if the dogs can continue their service dog duties. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the costs of the dog’s medical bills and as of Monday afternoon, people had donated more than $20,000 to the cause.