Officer shoots loose dog in front of family members

Residents of Ohio are calling for the dismissal of a police officer from the Lorain Police Department, close to Cleveland, who killed a loose retriever in front of the pet’s family.

Elliott Palmer has been put on leave since the incident, as reported by WKYC on Friday. The department reported that the situation is being investigated, but did not give more details. A rally was held outside the police station prior to WKYC confirming Palmer’s leave.

Lieutenant Jacob Morris expressed his condolences to the Dixie’s family during the rally, saying “Regardless of the situation, they’re dealing with the loss of a family member. It hurts to even say that we were involved in that, but with that being said, we can offer our condolences — and we certainly, certainly do. I’ve spoken to the family and (am) trying to be a resource for them as the investigative process rolls out.”

Records show that on Sunday, Palmer noticed some large dogs running around and asked the owner, Tammie Kern, to control them. While Kern’s daughter was attempting to gather the four dogs, Dixie got away and ran playfully toward Palmer, which he responded to by shooting her several times.

The bodycam showed Palmer standing in the street outside Kern’s Oberlin Avenue home, first with a different golden retriever playfully running up to him and then with Dixie calmly running up to him before he raised his gun and shot her. The dog managed to drag herself to safety until she reached the curb where she lay helplessly.

Kern told WKYC that after the first shot was fired, Palmer “should have just let it go and let us get the dog and take her where she needed to be treated.” But he did not do that. “She was crawling — useless, helpless — in the street. He continued shooting her three more times after the first time,” Kern said. Kern said Palmer should “lose his job” and “go to jail” for his actions.

In the wake of the tragic shooting, local communities have expressed their outrage and are calling for the firing of Officer Palmer from the department.

A petition and the hashtag #JusticeforDixie have gathered much support for the family of the dog, with the petition saying: “The dog was not exhibiting any signs of aggression and did not deserve to be the victim of such an appalling act of violence. We demand justice for Dixie and her family.”

People have taken to social media to label Palmer a “coward” and demand his badge be taken away, whilst others have criticized him for indicating his fear when Dixie came toward him. Kristine Duffin commented on a Lorain, Ohio, Facebook group: “Claims he was afraid for his life! But had his hand out calling the first dog to him, then poor Dixie probably thought: ‘Oh hey, this is a nice guy, I’m gonna go say hi.’ Poor baby had no clue she was gonna be shot dead.”

The Lorain Police Department released a statement on Monday, confirming Palmer had “used force” on Dixie and said the incident is under investigation. The statement reads: “While all the facts are not yet known, the investigation has been assigned to the Lorain Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the use of force.”

Kern and her family plan to file a lawsuit against the police department, as reported by WKYC.