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Baxter, a six-year-old Australian Shepherd, died two weeks after he was shot by a Pembroke Pines Police officer.
Pembroke Pines Police are defending an officer's shooting of a family's dog as family members and activists are planning to protest the shooting at city hall Wednesday.
The controversy surrounds the shooting of Baxter, a six-year-old Australian Shepherd, who died two weeks after he was shot by a Pembroke Pines Police officer.
Family members and their supporters are planning to protest the shooting at a "Justice for Baxter Rally" at Pembroke Pines City Hall at 6 p.m.
The incident happened the evening of Feb. 24, when Officer Nicholas Taber and police trainee Officer Daniel Sammarco responded to a call of a loose dog at a home in the 800 block of Southwest 171 Terrace in the Lido Isles development, according to a final review of the incident released by Pembroke Pines Police Wednesday.
According to the review, the officers found the door of the home wide open and saw the dog in a front window and a boy in an upstairs window.
Taber asked the boy to come downstairs so they could investigate the loose dog report, but as he came to the front door, the dog exited the home and charged at the officers, the review said.
According to police, the officers told the boy three times to control the dog, but the attempts to detain the dog failed. It started growling and showing its teeth and continued towards Sammarco.
When the dog lunged at Sammarco, the officer raised his foot to fight off the attack, the review said. Fearing for Sammarco's safety, Taber started shooting until the dog stopped attacking, police said.
A short time later, the dog's owner, Frank Jones-Gonzalez, arrived home and started screaming at the officers, the review said. Jones-Gonzalez rushed the dog to Cooper City Animal Hospital, where it was found to have been shot three times, in the right leg, chest and thorax, the review said.
According to the family, Baxter died from his wounds two weeks later.
"Officer Taber’s actions were consistent with the current policies and procedures of the Pembroke Pines Police Department," the review said. "Officer Taber’s actions were justified in preserving Officer Sammarco’s safety and well being."
According to the review, Taber had a clear field of fire with the ground and at no time were any civilians in danger.
The review also found that Jones-Gonzalez's dogs have been loose, unleashed and unsupervised several times in the past.
Neighbors told police that the dogs have been aggressive before and have even chased a woman and her child. Another neighbor said one of the dogs had lunged at him while he was walking on the sidewalk, the review said.
But the family tells a different story. According to a Change.org petition posted by the family, the officer fired his gun six times in front of their son who was about 18 feet away from Baxter, possibly putting him in danger.
"Why would an officer be more concerned about his partner’s boot than that of the safety of a thirteen year old child, not to mention the psychological horror he was inflicting upon the child by committing this act in his presence?" family member Allie Jones writes in the post.
The family also claims one of the officers told the teen "Come get your dog before I shoot him," and said the teen didn't see Baxter attack the officers or bite Sammarco's boot.
They also claim that after the shooting, one of the officers said "We don't need to wait to be bitten to shoot."
The family's petition has over 2,200 signatures.