Lehigh Valley

Woman files petition after police officer shoots, kills dog

Woman files petition after police officer shoots, kills dog

EASTON, Pa. - An Easton woman is calling for a city officer to be fired after he shot and killed her pet dog.

An online petition, started three days ago, is pushing for the action and had nearly 4,000 signatures Thursday night.

Was it a justified shooting, or an unwarranted execution? Last month, 11-month-old pit bull Xaviar was shot and killed.

"I cry every day," sobbed Autumn Kunsman. "Every day and I don't know when it's going to stop."

Kunsman didn't witness the shooting, but said her pet was anything but aggressive.

"It doesn't seem to me that Xaviar would ever attack somebody," Kunsman said.

But that's exactly what Easton police said the canine did.

"A female called, extremely upset, extremely scared," explained Chief Carl Scalzo, Easton Police Dept. "Said that she was basically being held, pinned down by an aggressive pit bull in her yard."

According to the police report, when an officer got on scene, the woman and her two children were huddled on two chairs. In order to the distract the animal, the officer said he stood in between the family and the barking pit bull.

"The dog was very, very vicious, teeth out," described witness Tom Attinello. "I mean it freaked me out, and I was inside."

Attinello watched the entire incident unfold from his kitchen window a few feet away. Authorities said the pit bull lunged at the officer, so he fired two shots.

"The officer did his job," said Attinello. "He waited a substantial period of time before he did anything aggressive to the dog, but the dog just got too close to him and wouldn't let him move back or forth or side to side."

"The officer himself is actually a dog owner. He actually owns a pit bull and is familiar with the breed," said Scalzo. "This dog would have bitten, would have seriously injured, would have potentially killed if our officer didn't do what he did that day."

The problem is, not everyone remembers it that way.

"The officer shot the dog as the dog was walking away for apparently no reason," recalled witness Pete Douglass. "He waited until the dog walked 12 feet away."

Now Kunsman is calling for action from the department, saying the officer didn't need to resort to deadly force.

"I want him fired. I want him off the force," Kunsman said. "I do not want him to be able to have a gun again."

"I stand 100 percent behind my officer and his actions on this day, and I think he did a phenomenal job," added Scalzo.

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