A Hollywood police officer shot and killed a pit bull in a resident's back yard while searching for a man who had committed a strong armed robbery.
It happened just before noon Wednesday in the 2300 block of Wiley Street. The 4-year-old male pit bull, named Pup-pup, was shot in the back yard of a home that he was trained to protect.
"I just heard gunshots as I was walking back to the house," said dog owner Antonio Williamson.
It happened just after Williamson came outside to ask why so many police officers were parked in front of his house. They were looking for a man who had punched another guy in the face and stole his bike in front of a convenience store on Pembroke Road and 22nd Avenue. A witness followed the suspect to the area on Wiley Street and called 911.
"The police suspected the robber may have gone into the back yard so they entered through a side gate.
"When they got to the back yard, they were confronted by a pit bull," said Hollywood Police Sgt. Lester Cochenour.
The dog was shot multiple times and died in the back yard. Williamson was angry that officers didn't knock first. He said Pup-pup was a humble dog and was great with kids, but was also trained to protect to his property.
"There have been a lot of break ins around here, in this area for the last year and a half or so, and I have my dog out here just for that purpose," Williamson told Local 10's Roger Lohse.
Lohse reported that there are no signs on the side of Williamson's house indicating that a dog was in the backyard. Under the law, police are allowed to enter private property if they are pursuing or searching for a felony suspect.
But none of that makes either side feel any better about how this confrontation ended.
"It is an unfortunate circumstance that the dog and the police met. It was not the initial call but the officer had to shoot the dog to protect himself," said Sgt. Cochenour.
"Well, you know, they apologized about it but naturally the dog was protecting its area," Williamson told Lohse.