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

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Original post, 6:13 a.m. November 27: Few incidents prompt more passion among media consumers than the death of an animal -- so it's no surprise that a video showing a Commerce City police officer shooting a pit bull named Chloe (see it below) has stirred controversy. Nonetheless, the cops say they did nothing wrong -- and point to lessons learned from a previous dog shooting that the media portrayed "poorly."

The new video, shared by outlets such as CBS4 and Fox31, was captured by Kenny Collins, who saw a pit bull running loose in his Commerce City neighborhood, near a home at 9695 Nucla Street. Turns out the residents were caring for Chloe on behalf of a family member.

What happened next? According to a Commerce City Police Department release, officers who responded to the scene attempted to contact the homeowner for twenty minutes without success before determining that the dog needed to be captured and taken to an animal shelter. The dog reacted aggressively, the police emphasize, and an attempt to subdue it with a Taser was unsuccessful.

At that point, an animal control officer managed to snare the dog with an instrument called a "catch pole," but could not control her due to "the dog's size and aggressive behavior," the release continues. And so, "for the safety of the community and the officers on scene," one of the cops "fired his weapon multiple times to put down the dog and ensure the safety of everyone."

Little did the officer realize that Collins recorded the entire exchange on a cell phone camera -- and while the basic outlines of the police account are confirmed by the clip, the footage is ambiguous enough for critics to argue that shooting and killing a dog already snagged on a catch pole was excessive and unnecessary.

Witnessing this incident was clearly emotional for Collins, as you can see in the report below.

The story is complicated by its location. After all, Commerce City has earned a reputation, fairly or unfairly, when it comes to animal control and pit bulls.

Continue to read more about the shooting of Chloe the pit bull, as well as to see two videos.
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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