Commerce City Police dog shooting: Owner devastated, confused by pit bull label

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Chloe came into Branson's life four years ago as a therapy pet. He'd just gone through extensive heart surgery, and she helped inspire him to walk and exercise in ways that aided his healing process. "She was my constant companion pretty much 24/7," he says. "And there's never been any incidents where she was violent or aggressive.

"She was as gentle as a lamb, to be honest with you," he continues. "She loved kids. She loved running around with them, playing with them. She'd let them ride on her like a horse, bounce on her, pull her ears, and she never once did anything to harm a child -- or an adult. She was just a loving, loving animal who loved attention. It didn't matter from who."

Given this description, the call he received about Chloe's shooting was an even greater shock than it would have been under other circumstances. "My cousin was devastated by what happened," he says. "She was in hysterics. I actually had to calm her down so she could tell me what happened."

Edwards points out that Chloe can be seen sitting calmly during extended portions of the video, proving, in her mind, that the officers' actions were excessive and unnecessary. But Branson can't comment on the footage. He doesn't feel emotionally ready to see the clip yet.

When asked what actions he believes Commerce City should take in the case, Branson is at a loss for words, prompting Edwards to note, "He's still in shock, literally. He's sitting in my office in shock."

In regard to a potential Commerce City response, she adds, "They had the opportunity to do the right thing -- to own their mistake, to apologize for that mistake. And they didn't. So now I think they need to change their ways within that police department. Obviously, there's something wrong in the culture there. In three months, we've gone to trial on one dog getting shot, and now we have another one needlessly murdered. Something has to change."

Here's the complete video.

Continue to read our previous coverage about the shooting of Chloe.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts