Zoey was a mutt adopted from an animal shelter in 2003.
She had never bitten anyone, her owners said, although she’d always bark at visitors who came to their 10-acre property in Commerce City. About 3 p.m., Wednesday, Zoey was shot dead by a Commerce City police officer.
Julia and Frank Agazio say what happened was inexcusable.
The Commerce City police say the officer did the only thing she could, shoot a “vicious dog” who threatened her. An investigation into the incident is on-going.
Mr. Agazio accidentally hit a pre-programmed 911 button. When he did, the Commerce City Police called back to find out if everything was OK. He told them everything was fine. Commerce City police decided to send an officer to the residence to make sure – without telling the Agazios they would soon be there.
The Commercity Police spokesman said the female officer – who he declined to identify by name or length of service – walked through an open gate on the Agazio driveway, said Dickey. There, said Dickey, she was confronted by “three, large vicious dogs.” Dickey said the officer shot Zoey as the dog attempted to attack her.
The officer is still on duty and is still carrying her weapon. The shooting is not the same as where an officer shoots a human and is placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The Agazios tell a different version of events. They claim that moments before the shooting, Zoey, along with the other two dogs, were on a porch being fed biscuits by Frank’s 82-year-old father.
When the officer approached, Zoey, who has always acted as the couple’s watchdog, apparently heard the officer and started barking at her as she always did at visitors. The Agazios said the officer had walked at least 40 yards on to their property when she pulled the trigger once. The shot struck Zoey in the chest. At the time she was shot, the Agazios said Zoey was 10 feet away from the officer.
The Agazios say they wish that the female officer, if she was concerned about the dog, would have called the police dispatcher and had the Agazios restrain their pet. And they wonder why the officer didn’t use a Taser or pepper spray.
“We receive constant deliveries from UPS, Fed Ex, the mail man and other various delivery services and none of these people have ever been attacked by our ‘vicious’ dogs,” said Julia Agazio.
“Her first interaction with those who are meant to serve and protect ended up with them murdering her dog right in front of her,” said Maria’s mother. “No longer is Zoey on her little rug at the front door where she lay for the last seven years.”
Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or firstname.lastname@example.org